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Journal Articles Historical Reflections/Réflexions Historiques Year : 2020

Agricultural Fire or Arson?

Agricultural Fire or Arson?


This article focuses on fire management practices in Algeria during the colonial period. Focusing on environmental usages of fires in Algerian rural society, this article shows that these practices were submitted to varied and opposite interpretations resulting in significant and durable conflicts. These conflicts exploded under the French colonial forestry administration, which forcefully imposed new legislation to criminalize existing agricultural practices, including fires. Despite this ban, these practices continued. The administration interpreted this persistence as rebellion and responded with severe sanctions. This only aggravated the situation, resulting in a real war of attrition. On the one hand, this situation does not diverge from the rural violence typical of the nineteenth century. On the other, the responses of the administration in colonial Algeria represent specific digressions compared to the policies carried out in metropolitan areas.
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hal-03448978 , version 1 (25-11-2021)



Antonin Plarier. Agricultural Fire or Arson?: Rural Denizens, Forest Administration, and the Colonial Situation in Algeria (1850–1900) . Historical Reflections/Réflexions Historiques, 2020, 46 (2), pp.9-24. ⟨10.3167/hrrh.2020.460202⟩. ⟨hal-03448978⟩
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