For Jean-Pierre le Goff, the village is dead.
His sentence is without appeal:”The village as a community gathering in the same place housing, work and what we call today leisure is dead”.
The sociologist studied in particular a village called Cadenet, which he frequented for over 30 years. But it is a statement that concerns the whole of France.
You can read with profit a presentation of the book by Le Figaro, as well as an interview with Jean-Pierre le Goff, by following the links that accompany the two following extracts:
Transformed into an annex of suburban dormitories for “rurbanites” in search of tranquility, or into figurines frozen in a “glacial museum records”, to paraphrase Julien Gracq – as soon as the all-too-famous sign “one of the most beautiful villages in France” appears – , the archetype of the village is going through a moment of crisis that would be the image of the “French malaise”, Le Goff advances. A mixture of “a headlong rush into modernity and a nostalgic return to the past”. In this bubbling book, which in more than 500 pages describes the evolution of Cadenet, the author plunges us into the kitchens of this hexagonal crisis.
I believe that the fractures that have developed are not simply social, marked by inequality. This dimension exists, of course, but it is coupled with a cultural divide. It concerns the conception of life, the relationship to nature, to leisure, to work. For example, there were many hunters in Cadenet, but for some of the new inhabitants, “Killing animals is not good”.