CAIRN-INT.INFO : International Edition

Environmental quality, gradually instituted as a collective good, is nowadays a legitimate aim of public action, but also a factor of discrimination within populations. The analysis of these discriminations, namely that of environmental inequalities, is the subject of recent stu­dies that intend to objectify them and better understand the processes that produce them. Along the same line, this article deals with a specific and little studied form of inequality – environmental effort – by comparing the effects of two public policies : the creation of the Natio­nal park of Creeks and the contracts of special agro- environmental measures in Dordogne. It shows that this effort is unevenly allocated and that it amplifies the existing environmental or professional inequalities. The qualitative approach adopted here reveals the influence of dialogue as well as of financial compensation in the production of such inequalities. This approach provides the opportunity to contribute to a controversy specific to environmental inequalities : does monetary compensation make the inequalities fairer ? More broadly, it questions the equity of environmental pu­blic policies. Even though the institutional stakeholders involved in the implementation of the studied public policies justify the unequal contribution of the different concerned groups by the principle of merit, the analysis shows that the application of this principle is based on “institutionalized patterns of low esteem” (Fraser, 2011) which disadvantage the most dominated groups.


  • inequalities
  • environment
  • justice
  • merit
  • environmental effort
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