«The London School of Economics and Political Science Wine In Their Veins: France and the European Community’s Common Wine Policy, 1967-1980 Maria ...»
The study is French-centered, and while it references the opinions and actors of several other countries, notably Italy and Germany in chapters two and three, it does not aspire to fully articulate the stories of countries other than France. This thesis is interested in the effect of the Common Wine Policy on French vignerons and their sense of self, and it strives to examine and include their voices in a variety of ways. However, this work is not anthropological or sociological. In historian Peter Scholliers’ introduction to the collected work Food, Drink, and Identity: Cooking, Eating, and Drinking in Europe since the Middle Ages, he examines the relationship between food, identity and belonging, and suggests that this study ought to be more frequently undertaken in history, where works of this sort are far sparser than those in the rich corpus of sociology, anthropology, and philosophy. He makes the excellent argument that as a mutable and flexible instrument, ‘identity does not form a separate, consistent tool for historical understanding’6; instead, it must be studied in specific contexts and generalisations must be avoided.
Peter Scholliers, Food, drink and identity : cooking, eating and drinking in Europe since the Middle Ages (Oxford: Berg, 2001), 11.
The most significant challenge facing this project was the relative dearth of primary sources capturing the voices of farmers. The archived records belonging to the Ministry of Agriculture, conserved at the Archives Nationales de France, site contemporaine Fountainebleau were sometimes helpful, but haphazard and uneven. The document series on wine conserved by Christian Bonnet’s office, was particularly useful, offering up several personal letters written by vignerons to Bonnet when he was Minister of Agriculture from 1974–1977.
Farmers unfortunately do not leave archives. Conscientious farmers might keep meticulous administrative records but these dry documents, if they are actually created, available, and retained for posterity, would not have been useful for this thesis, as they do not shed light on these farmers’ thoughts, feelings, and opinions of the political situation around them. A very lucky find indeed was the powerful source, La Journée Vinicole, which is a French national daily newspaper – the only daily newspaper on wine at the time in France – aimed at all wine professionals and which certainly had wide geographic reach. The majority of its readership, though, was wine growers located in the Languedoc, making it ideal for this thesis as a rich source of the voices and opinions of Midi vignerons at this time. That the readership was made up in this way was unsurprising, as French viticultural journals, in the main local or regional, though widely read by professionals across the country, were ‘concerned chiefly with Languedoc and the producers of ordinary wines’.8 This thesis therefore uses La Journée Vinicole in large part to represent the voices of farmers at the time. This is not without its limitations, of course, but has been the best alternative Leo A. Loubère, The Wine Revolution in France (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1990), 85.
option for a group that left few primary documents behind. Had an anthropologist working in the 1970s asked the same broad research questions this thesis has done, it is possible there might have been considerable overlap between his or her work and this one. But no such work exists, and furthermore, it would still not address the historical dimension of explaining the changes over the 1970s. The work that has most closely attempted to do an
anthropological survey in a similar vein to this thesis is Winnie Lem’s Cultivating Dissent:
Work, Identity and Praxis in Rural Languedoc. She focuses on one village in the Languedoc (she does not tell us which, naming it for ease in the book ‘Broussan’) where her interest is in demonstrating how rural people have dealt with the ‘processes of disintegration brought on by the development of capitalism and the modernizing imperatives of the state’.9 Her anthropological work very well challenges the popular view of small farmers as being conservatively or averse to reforming – this work agrees with Lem in this regard. However, her work has a very narrow scope, covering as it does only one unnamed village, makes little mention of the European Community, and covers a different time period (the late 1980s and early 1990s) to the one this thesis is concerned with.
Another fortuitous find was ‘The Vine Remembers: French Vignerons Recall Their Past’, a fine volume of considerable effort in which the editors present the transcriptions of a wide range of detailed interviews conducted with French vignerons. In contrast with Cultivating Dissent, which saw an anthropologist working in the Languedoc area but in a more recent time than that of this thesis, The Vine Remembers sees historians working in the 1970s on the lives and thoughts of vignerons across France. These interviews took place in 1978 and 1979 (with the exception of a few that took place in 1973), and the people interviewed belonged to three different generations – those of 1910–1914, 1940–1945, and 1975–1980. The creators Winnie Lem, Cultivating Dissent: Work, Identity and Praxis in Rural Languedoc (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1999), ix.
of the collection do not attempt to analyse the interviews themselves – they simply present these pieces to be recorded for posterity to give scholars who study individuals in the past a way ‘to go back in time in order to discover…[these] ordinary people.’ Despite the French state’s enthusiasm for administrative record keeping in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, the result of which is large and often bloated archives filled with government reports and statistics, most ordinary French people ‘did not leave behind narrative descriptions of their daily lives and of the forces which shaped them. Those who have studied the people of the vine, the society and culture of winegrowing communities, are only too aware of this lack even for the more recent past….Indeed, neither historians nor sociologists have undertaken systematic studies of grape growers as people with a specific culture of their own’.10 Whether this is because there has not been academic interest or because of source difficulties – quite likely, both – it is a shame. This thesis has attempted to fill this gap, but it goes beyond this useful collection’s desire to ‘hear their stories....in their own words’11 and attempts to analyse what vignerons have done as well as said. The interviews from The Vine Remembers are used through this work as another primary source alongside La Journée Vinicole.
There are three strands of existing literature that relate most closely to this thesis. The first is the historical literature on the development of the EEC with relation to the CAP; the second is the political science and economic literature on the development of wine regulations; the third is a discussion of broader historical works on the interconnections between agriculture, wine, and identity, mostly in food history. Through these works, it is clear that the lack of writing directly relevant to this work is a repeated issue.
Leo A. Loubère et al., The Vine Remembers, ed. Leo A. Loubère, SUNY Series in Modern European Social History (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1985), 1.
To consider the Common Agricultural Policy in the 1960s and 1970s is to consider the foundations of the European integration project. In fact, it may be as legitimate to wonder about the importance of the CAP to the European Community as it is to wonder about the importance of the European Community to the CAP. This is not an overstatement; for some authors, the CAP underscores the path from proposed integration to the European Community and eventually the European Union (EU): John S. Marsh and Pamela Swanney for instance, state that ‘the most important achievement of the CAP is that without it there would have been no Community.’12 It has in many ways attained a symbolic status representing a unified Europe; there were times when challenging the progress of the CAP, once established in the 1962, was akin to challenging European solidarity. In the environment of the 1950s and 1960s, where the collective memory of food shortages caused many Europeans anxiety, the CAP emerged as a highly integrated and serious answer, though not without its political entanglements.13 From its infancy, the CAP dominated the Community agenda, taking a disproportionate amount of the time and energy of new Eurocrats and representing about half of the Community’s expenditures.
That the integration process was so heavily channeled through the focus on agricultural issues has not gone unremarked. Piers Ludlow, Ann-Christina Knudsen, and Marsh and Swanney have all commented on the characteristic trend shared by the six original member states as being the continuing decline in the economic slice of the farm sector.14 A considerable John S. Marsh and Pamela J. Swanney, Agriculture and the European Community (London: George Allen and Unwin, 1980), 74.
Kiran Klaus Patel, 'Europeanization à contre-coeur: West Germany and agricultural integration, 1945-1975,' in Fertile Ground for Europe? The History of European Integration and the Common Agricultural Policy since 1945, ed. Kiran Klaus Patel (Baden-Baden: Nomos, 2009), 139.
See N. Piers Ludlow, 'The Green Heart of Europe? The rise and fall of the CAP as the Community's central policy, 1958-1985,' in Fertile Ground for Europe? The History of European Integration and the Common Agricultural Policy since 1945 (Baden-Baden: Nomos, 2009), 83; Ann-Christina L. Knudsen, Farmers on motive for the European integration process was the political desire to have a peaceful, progressive, and unified continent, one which intended to ensure the second half of the twentieth century had none of the bloodshed that marred the first. That the architects from participating nation-states and the Council of Ministers chose integration through economic means was largely a result of the failure of initial political and defense integration efforts.15 But why they chose economic integration through a sector which seemed to be ailing in almost all of the EEC Six economies is not at all straightforward.
The strongest explanation for this was that the European Community was seen by state leaders as a site of rescue for the agricultural welfare state. A proponent of this idea is Alan Milward, whose work is best encapsulated in his book The European Rescue of the NationState, published first in 1992, with a second edition in 2000. Milward criticizes political integrationist theory, from neo-functionalism to intergovernmentalism, arguing that these are part of ‘
political debate and utopian speculation about European unity’.16 He argues that the development of the European Community rescued, amongst other sectors, protectionist agricultural policy in Europe. However, his argument that the nation state remains the principal actor despite the development of the EC is in some ways challenged by this thesis. This thesis demonstrates there was at least some change in the way the nationstate engaged with local citizens – the change even includes local citizens becoming involved Welfare: The Making of Europe's Common Agricultural Policy (Ithaca: Cornell University, 2009), 50-56; and Marsh and Swanney, Agriculture and the European Community, 14.
The failure of the European Political Community is covered by Richard T. Griffiths, Europe's First Constitution: The European Political Community, 1952-1954 (London: I.B. Tauris, 2000); and Rita Cardozo, 'The Project for a Political Community (1952-1954),' in The Dynamics of European union, ed. Roy Pryce (London: Croom Helm, 1987). There is a contribution too by Marsh and Swanney, Agriculture and the European Community. For the failure of the European Defense Community, see Edward Fursdon, The European Defence Community: A History, vol. London (Macmillan, 1980); Kevin Ruane, The Rise and Fall of the European Defence Community: Anglo-American Relations and the Crisis of European Defense, 1950–55 (Basingstoke: Palgrave, 2000); Michel Dumoulin, ed. La Communauté Européenne de Défense, Leçons Pour Demain ? The European Defence Community, Lessons for the Future ? (Brussels: Peter Lang, 2000); and Anne Deighton, Building Postwar Europe: National Decision-Makers and European Institutions, 1948-63 (Basingstoke: Macmillan, 1995).
Alan Milward, The European Rescue of the Nation-State, 2nd ed. (Abingdon: Routledge, 2000), 1.
with Brussels precisely because they believe that the nation-state was no longer the principal actor in their profession. There was, too, a sacrifice of sovereignty in the French state’s relinquishing of control over its vineyards, which was voluntary and a result of choosing other imperatives.