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Hommes, milieux, brebis et laits à la croisée des fromages : L'ancrage territorial des ovins laitier en Corse et en Pyrénées-Atlantiques depuis la fin du XXe siècle

Abstract : The study of the “territorial anchorage” of a product is not restricted to its specific attributes; it also extends to the relationships between anchorage and development, that is to say the impacts that valorizing a “terroir” product can have on local economic and social networks. This reference to sustainability enables the identification of stakes inherent to any project of qualification (choices for the product’s definition, its links to the territory and the sharing of value added). They refer to the project’s coherence, to the choices’ coherence with regards to territorial planning, to the links to living beings and to viability on the long term. This position calls for a process-based approach. The case of sheep’s milk value chains in Corsica and the Western Pyrenees (WP) is revealing: both value chains have been under the hold of Roquefort for nearly a century; its withdrawal (1980ies) has led to a recent and deep recomposition of the territorial anchorage of value chains and local products. We reconstruct their trajectory within each basin from then to nowadays. The choice of a comparative approach enables the identification of the elements that are mobilized to build collectively the local products’ quality. We show that the building of specificity and anchorage, and its interactions with the product’s reputation, generates an income which appears to be the stake of contradictory interests and strategies of appropriation. These dynamics take place within specific structures (PDO Ossau-Iraty, PDO Brocciu, local interprofessional organization) which are intended to constitute relevant frames for dialogue, negotiation and regulation at the regional scale. These instances tend to be appropriated by the stakeholders categories with a major economic weigh; as such, they get the capability to “say” what the product quality is, on behalf of the whole local sector. Therefore, building the cheese quality relies more on its provenance than on its origin, it aims at increasing the offer and favors economic performance: farms localized in plains or piedmont plain, expected to be more “open” to change, are thus favored. The legitimacy of such structures may be locally contested, as evidenced by the emergence of alternative projects of product qualification and territorial anchorage. The divide is technical and professional: it reveals a strong opposition between on-farm producers and processors, and within agricultural unions. Alternative projects can either participate the reorientation of the general product’s qualification (Ossau-Iraty; WP), or they might not give rise to any lasting general project, which strengthens the established interests (Corsica). To what extent can the territorial anchorage be a norm? In order to report the effects of framing, wrongdoing and avoidance that the structures we identified have to deal with, we propose the notion of “significant” productive resources. In our case, these are the milks, the local breeds and the fodder resources. They have been identified through our process-based analysis. They are significant for two reasons. First, they divide the local stakeholders and, therefore, can be identified as major stakes. Second, such resources reveal the selective and incomplete nature of the process of territorial anchorage: the process is not about defining a product in an exhaustive way, but rather about characterizing its nodal elements. Finally, “significant” productive resources enable to understand the discrepancies between a normalized anchorage (as prescribed by institutions) and the anchorage of practices (what is actually happening). In Corsica and WP, the choices of qualification have led to the integration of technical choices specific to the conventional model. They have installed a distance between the product and its origin (artificialization of fodder resources, deconstruction of local know-how, and standardization of milks). This evolution is also based on an unequal sharing of value added, in economic terms (milk price) and in social terms (producers are excluded from collective structures, their competences are not recognized). Finally, those cases highlight the weakness of an anchorage based solely on the value of a reputation; resolving this weakness depends on the ability of actors to build coherence between choices forthe product qualification and choices for agricultural development on one hand, and their ability to build their autonomy on the other hand. Autonomy refers to the construction of a capacity to act collectively, which is highly dependent on the system’s memory (inertia of choices, print made on resources and individual memories); and therefore refers to the responsibility of local stakeholders in the implementation of a form of sustainable development.
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Morgane Millet. Hommes, milieux, brebis et laits à la croisée des fromages : L'ancrage territorial des ovins laitier en Corse et en Pyrénées-Atlantiques depuis la fin du XXe siècle. Sciences du Vivant [q-bio]. Université de Corse Pasquale Paoli, 2017. Français. ⟨tel-02788804⟩

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