L'invention du pré carré : la construction de l'espace français sous l'ancien régime
Between the Renaissance and the French Revolution, the perception of the French space had completely evolved, transforming the kingdom into a homogenous area, measured, mapped, “modern”. What were the stages of this evolution and its political and economic consequences? To answer these questions, David Bitterling replaced the question of space in the context of debates and the political projects from 17th and 18th century, questioning them in terms of his dimension of time theory and practice. He describes a complex reality where geometry and the politician cross over, sometimes resulting in confrontation, the intendant and the farmer, the surveyor and the dispossessed peasant, the Jesuit missionary. Based on the notion of Pré Carré (Duelling Field), which became a weapon of war under the Vauban regime, this study shows how the idea of a “closed” land could be the basis for a liberal logic of exchange. The scope of the text includes geographic, economic or political elements, with a multi-faceted approach. In coming back therefore to the imaginary French space, David Bitterling restores all the complexity of a discursive configuration, which goes from the surveying manual to a theological discourse, while linking a detailed analysis of the economic and political discourse.