Power and Changing Riverscapes: The Socioecological Fix and Newspaper Discourse Concerning the Rhône River (France) Since 1945 - Archive ouverte HAL Access content directly
Journal Articles Annals of the American Association of Geographers Year : 2019

Power and Changing Riverscapes: The Socioecological Fix and Newspaper Discourse Concerning the Rhône River (France) Since 1945

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Abstract

Riverscapes are constructs that mix natural components with political, socioeconomic, and technicalstrategies. This article shows how the riverscapes of the Rh^one in France have changed under the influenceof different power relations. We use newspapers to highlight the potential of news outlets as a data sourcewith which to apply Foucault’s critical and genealogical methods and to develop a political ecology ofsocioecological fixes. Media coverage is proxied by a content analysis and textual data analysis of 1,079articles published in Le Monde from 1945 to 2013. We study variations of newspaper discourse to create fivechronological narratives: (1) the reconstruction of France and the creation of new landscapes, (2) thepromotion of national development through navigation, (3) the quest for energy independence throughdams and nuclear power plants, (4) the abandonment of major projects, and (5) the definition of pollutionand flooding as national problems at the same time as the rediscovery of landscapes as local amenities. Riverlandscapes are related to national political objectives, even though schemes for the Rh^one seem to be everless geared to national ambitions. In specific contexts, bottom-up advocacy coalitions occasionally provepowerful enough to influence socioecological trajectories: Their power seems to be on the rise as thenational project wanes. They are often opposed to new socioecological fixes. Although political drivers areinstrumental in shaping the Rh^one, economic dynamics are crucial. Energy production seems to be a goodindicator for monitoring socioecological fixes along major rivers because it involves fixed capital.
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halshs-02125902 , version 1 (22-06-2021)

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Emeline Comby, Yves-François Le Lay, Hervé Piégay. Power and Changing Riverscapes: The Socioecological Fix and Newspaper Discourse Concerning the Rhône River (France) Since 1945. Annals of the American Association of Geographers, 2019, 109 (6), pp.1671-1690. ⟨10.1080/24694452.2019.1580134⟩. ⟨halshs-02125902⟩
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