Vom Recht zum Ingenieurwissen: Konflikte um Fließgewässer in Frankreich im 19. Jahrhundert
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This article analyses how a government of running waters was discussed and constructed in France in the first half of the 19th century by declaring them res communes. The investigation focuses on the attempt by State engineers to conceive an “integrated management” of a whole valley. It opened up a reflection on the legal framework necessary, the role of the state administration, and the knowledge it could be based on. Administration and State engineers pushed for a unified vision of rationalized management of the waters of the whole basin, with a hierarchy between old and new users, and try to keep it outside the judiciary’s purview. Scientific knowledge, based on measure and on a naturalistic view of the river, was their key argument: they claimed a better capacity to regulate water consumption between the many users of the river, and try to articulate different uses, practices and knowledge on the river.
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