Property Mosaic and State-Making: Governmentality, Expropriation and Conservation in the Pyrenees

By Vaccaro, Ismael | Journal of Ecological Anthropology, January 1, 2005 | Go to article overview

Property Mosaic and State-Making: Governmentality, Expropriation and Conservation in the Pyrenees


Vaccaro, Ismael, Journal of Ecological Anthropology


Abstract

This article identifies the current explosion of conservation policies in the Pyrenees as the most recent wave of a long-standing tradition of state-driven territorial policies. The very existence of these policies cannot be understood without taking into account the consequences of two hundred years of territorial rationalization, land expropriation and natural resource control. Depopulation, agricultural involution and forest recovery are partial consequences, not necessarily intended, of the expansion of the modern Spanish state. In addition to identifying a similar ideological background for the four phases of the model presented here (municipalization, disentailment, expropriation and parks implementation), I also argue that the territorial composition of the current protected areas would be impossible without the synergistic effects of the preceding state actions. This article establishes a deep historical political genealogy of territorial appropriation that has consequences at all levels of the local landscape.

Introduction

For natural resource managers, environmentalists and other individuals situated in the thick of controversies over conservation and the management of landscapes, a state-centered historical perspective is last on their list of concerns. The conservation discourse is one in which the recent past is often conceived singularly as a period of unmitigated natural loss, and the orientation is fixed toward future possibilities for reclamation and redemption. Nevertheless, a historical perspective is often an overlooked means of understanding the broader picture of the relationship between state and landscape. The comprehension of this historical relationship dismantles the divide between the natural and the social. It explains landscapes as the result of the interaction between biophysical reality, human inhabitation, productive practices, and policies. Particularly, but not solely in the European context, an analysis of conservation policies within a much larger, state-centered historical and political process helps to explain how land tenure regimes came to be, and gives insight into the current management of the landscape. By locating ownership, we locate decision-making capability. By recording land uses and ecological status, we develop an understanding of practical, everyday life in the territory (Cronon 1983). Phenomena such as enclosure, imposition of strict land use regulations, forced evictions, extinction of local land use rights, sudden changes in ownership or uses and environmental shifts serve as windows into governmental technologies and their consequences (Darby 2000).

The Pyrenees lie within the northern strip of Catalonia along the French border. At the northern end of the Barcelona province, nestled within a thicket of protected areas, we find the mountainous district of Berguedà. The two municipalities where most of the land at the end of the upper watershed of the Llobregat River is concentrated-Ia Pobla de Lillet and Castellar de n'Hug-have 70 percent of their territory under the jurisdiction of some sort of environmental policy designed to protect environmental values. As in most of the Pyrenees, this region is characterized by rural depopulation, economic decline, a high proportion of public and common land, relatively undisturbed ecosystems and a disproportionate presence of conservation policies compared to elsewhere in Spain.

Why is it that landscapes in the hinterlands of many industrialized societies are currendy dominated by diose few key elements: depopulation, a conflictive transition from primary to tertiary sector uses, a disproportionate amount of public land and the marked presence of conservation areas? In order to explain this familiar situation and the connection between state-making and landscape formation, I focus on modern Spanish policies and the historical data-rich upper Llobregat region of Catalonia, Spain. My research on these topics focuses on three surviving villages in the Valley of Lillet: Ia Pobla de Lillet, Castellar de n'Hug and Sant Julia de Cerdanyola (Figure 1). …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Property Mosaic and State-Making: Governmentality, Expropriation and Conservation in the Pyrenees
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.