The book examines the social history and historical geography of the most important agricultural pressure groups in France since about 1918. Some were practical and pragmatic groups (cooperatives, banks and mutual-aid associations), others were inspired by right- or left-wing political movements (the Peasant Corporation under Vichy), yet others were sponsored by the Catholic Church (the Young Christian Farmers). Whatever their origins, all were important in shaping the evolution of French farming this century. The transformation of an isolated, autarkic peasantry into highly efficient agricultural producers, the role of the state in influencing agricultural modernisation and the place of the European community in French political and agricultural life have been affected by an increasingly complex and interlinked network of organisations that are the subject of this book. Their history and geography are revealing indicators of the social, cultural and economic evolution of rural France and, by combining an historical approach with a consideration of their contemporary role, the book serves to elucidate their role in shaping the countryside of the future.
Peasants, Politicians and Producers
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