Organizations and Networks in Europe and the USA
Edited by C. S.A. (Kris) van Koppen and William T. Markham
3. Nature protection associations in France Cécilia Claeys-Mekdade and Marie Jacqué The ﬁrst French law dealing speciﬁcally with nature protection dates only to July 1976, but its adoption reﬂected eﬀorts by organizations with nature protection goals extending back for more than a century. Born during the nineteenth century, French nature protection was characterized for many years by an elite constituency and a view of nature centred around natural history research, aesthetic enjoyment of nature, and nature’s economic utility. It pursued nature conservation in the context of a society characterized by centralized state control of regional development. After the Second World War, associations developed in earlier periods faced a new situation, characterized by a growing middle class and the emergence of an environmental movement and new competitors. They adapted by modifying their structures and forms of action and increased their memberships, but they remained focused on nature conservation campaigns based on scientiﬁc knowledge. More recently organizations with nature protection goals have professionalized, increased their skills and know-how, and become recognized spokesmen for nature in the public sphere. They have also become direct and indirect participants in the implementation of nature protection laws, management of nature protection areas, and environmental education. This chapter presents a chronological analysis of nature protection eﬀorts in France. It emphasizes three main perspectives: (1) the impact of the social class of nature protection advocates on the goals and structure of nature protection eﬀorts; (2) the relationship between associations that promote...
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