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Ecologie territoriale et trajectoires de transitions : le cas du Rhône-Médian

Abstract : Territorial ecology is a research field which proposes to analyse the functioning of a territory under the perspective of the flows of matter and energy which passes by and characterize it. This analysis is particularly led through the concept of territorial metabolism. Through this lens, flows are considered in their material dimension but also under the light of the actor systems and of the political and socio-economic issues which influence them. Thus, territorial ecology tends to underline socio-ecological transition levers on the scale of territories.This thesis proposes to test these concepts through a field study in the mid Rhône valley. Looking back to the end of the 18th century, the research firstly underlines how a socio-ecological regime is progressively set around the industry sector and the heavy infrastructures at the scale of the territory. Then, the thesis describes how this regime gets materialized into today’s metabolism through the analysis of four different kinds of flows (energy, water, toxic elements, food). This metabolism is described as intensive and toxic – according to the level of intensity and toxicity of the flows at stake – as well as absorbing – in the way it deals with other territories’ metabolic functions (waste management, food production). These properties of the Rhône-Médian’s metabolism implicate limited capacity for local actors (inhabitants, public actors, farmers) to act towards the reduction or the transformation of these flows. However, within a context of change in production systems and of residentialisation, several local initiatives emerge. Through this process, local actors gain a better understanding and better capabilities to act on the flows of energy and matter in order to engage with sustainable territorial development. These local initiatives lead to several forms of reassessment of existing power relationships but the industrial socio-ecological regime remains, partly because some lock-ins which structure and self-sustain this regime are not questioned.
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Submitted on : Tuesday, September 3, 2019 - 10:33:08 AM
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Alice Herbelin. Ecologie territoriale et trajectoires de transitions : le cas du Rhône-Médian. Géographie. Université Grenoble Alpes, 2018. Français. ⟨NNT : 2018GREAH026⟩. ⟨tel-02276808⟩



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