Contested Commons: The Historical Ecology of Continuity and Change in Basque Agro-pastoralism in the Baigorri Valley (France) Public Deposited

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  • March 20, 2019
  • Murray, David Seth
    • Affiliation: College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Anthropology
  • This dissertation examines long-term changes in the management and use of Commons in the Baigorri valley in the Basque region of southwestern France. This research identifies the various political challenges and socio-economic pressures confronting farmers there since the 18th-century. Diachronic, multi-scalar influences include persistent contestation over common-pool resources, profound shifts in the political economy, and fissures in the social fabric of Basque farming communities. By investigating the role of households and communal institutions in addressing historical contestations in the Baigorri valley, this dissertation reveals the influence of external polities like the French state in local governance and use of the Commons. This research also situates more recent processes of modernization and the effect of mechanization on agro-pastoralism within their historical contexts. These socio-economic transformations now allow farmers to depend less on the assistance of neighbors, thus reshaping individual and collective farming practices in the Commons of the Baigorri valley and weakening local networks for cooperation. Finally, this research problematizes the influence of the Common Agricultural Policy on Basque agro-pastoralism, analyzes how these changes are contested through new transborder initiatives, and discusses the future sustainability of management practices in the Commons of the Baigorri valley.
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  • Crumley, Carole L.
  • Open access

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