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Creator : Gérard Cholvy
Portail : Mediatèca
Histoires contemporaines en pays d'Oc
Gérard Cholvy
A number of books have now appeared on the recent history of the region of Southern France called Occitanie (roughly the area covered by the Southern portion of the ancient province of Languedoc). For the most part they are not the work of professional historians. This development is not without its drawbacks, since antiquarian methods can hardly give rise to the progressive history that certain of these authors dream of creating. Little may be expected from a history which appeals to the emotions and delights in abusive simplifications and preconceived schemas. It is therefore necessary to establish the guidelines of a new history, one which will take into account demographic phenomena and the economy, especially the great problem of the absence of industrialization in the region and its causes. One must, for example, consider the obstacle constituted by the lack of manpower, the working force having been attracted to the vineyard, where a Malthusian regime was the outstanding demographic factor ever since the rise of the wine trade. While industry has been slighted, viticulture, in contrast, has enjoyed unanimous popularity. The major economic fact, clouded over by some authors, is the astonishing prosperity of vine growing in the area of the plains following the opening of a national market. It left the memory of golden age to which many generations have hoped to return. In the domain of mentalités, there are also a large number of false but tenacious ideas in circulation. For example, with regard to the location and earliest date of the region's leftist political orientation, and to the subject of "de-Christianization". In the plains, the ideal that was cherished by almost everyone was that of individual advance, linked, on the cultural level, to mastery of the French language. Now, however, the abstract man of the Enlightenment and the liberal economy in which he was supposed to operate are both being challenged here.

Cholvy Gérard. Histoires contemporaines en pays d'Oc. In: Annales. Économies, Sociétés, Civilisations. 33e année, N. 4, 1978. pp. 863-879.

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