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Lived landscapes of power plants : large dams and nuclear cooling towers in the Loire Basin

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Sophie Bonin
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Abstract

River landscapes were largely used for energy generation. Along the 20th century, two forms have particularly marked creating new landscape archetypes : large dams and their reservoirs ; nuclear power plant and their cooling towers. The first should created “mirror lake”, the second “cathedral of the 20th century”, as conceived by the impact studies. Each time such equipment is built, some landscapes disappear, and others are constructed. These great works produce debates and conflicts taking part in the construction of landscapes. There are two processes : negatively, the mobilisation and the discourses “anti” bring a recognition of aesthetic and ecological values ignored. Positively, they create new forms and new practices that can bring lived landscapes. This contribution seeks to examine these dams and nuclear power plants impacts from an aesthetic of every day life in the Loire basin (Avril/Chouzé-sur-Loire ; Grangent/Saint-Victor-sur-Loire) : landscape is understood in a social representation way ; and we have been interested in the lived dimension of river landscapes. In this way, one can show that these two energy landscapes are lived very differently : if the large dams (but in fact, especially their reservoir) break the relation between riparians and river ; it's not at all the case for riparians of nuclear power plant. How to understand it ? This contribution hypothesizes from the analysis of social representation : for example one can explain it starting from the expressions running waters, and dead waters ; or from the literary paradigms of the lake and the river. On the contrary, nuclear landscape, at a local scale, is lived like monuments, without affecting river landscape. But it interacts with the very heavy symbolic system of nuclear power, which affects the exogenous glance. The social acceptance of this large equipment requires to think about lived landscape scheme.
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Dates and versions

halshs-00366151 , version 1 (06-03-2009)

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  • HAL Id : halshs-00366151 , version 1

Cite

Sophie Bonin. Lived landscapes of power plants : large dams and nuclear cooling towers in the Loire Basin. “Emerging Energies, Emerging Landscapes:
Revisioning the Past, Constructing the Future”
, Jun 2007, Paris, France. ⟨halshs-00366151⟩

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