La vulnérabilité urbaine : Metz et son climat à la fin du Moyen-Âge

Abstract : Since the seminal works of Emmanuel Le Roy Ladurie and Pierre Alexandre - to limit ourselves to the French context - the climate is no longer considered in a determinist frame as a primary cause printing its mark on human societies, but as a constraint which causes problems to them and which requires from them the implementation of various strategies so as to adapt or to overcome them. These strategies depend on settings that are purely social, cultural, political and economic. The notion of vulnerability is at the heart of this investigation. This term, polysemous, refers both to the impacts of natural phenomena - climatic in this research - on a society, and to the capacity of resilience of this latter, that is the capacity to plan, to anticipate or to get out of a particular short-term or long-term crisis. The measure of the impacts refers mainly to the socioeconomic settings, while the capacity of resilience depends directly on technical means, on political measures but also on cultural representations. Is there a "risk culture" which could throw light on these mechanisms? The documentary corpus from Metz is exceptional for this investigation: the narrative sources are numerous and cover without major discontinuities the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. This rich documentation is compared with the important collections of records kept in the regional and local archives. Therefore, the Metz County constitutes an excellent choice for the study of the climate history on a local scale. This period is marked by the Little Ice Age. This expression, which has flourished, must not be confused and understood as a new Ice Age, but as a period of sustained progress for the great glaciers, at least for the Western European ones. This phase would begin in the early fourteenth century and end by 1860. These characteristics are, however, debated, mainly because most studies of climate history concern the last 500 years. The lack of documentation makes previous study difficult. This is not the case for the Metz area, where an exceptional documentary corpus enables to analyse locally the badly known beginning of the Little Ice Age, the potential vulnerability of this urban State to climatic variations, and the existence of a "risk culture" relative to the climate and its disorders.
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Laurent Litzenburger. La vulnérabilité urbaine : Metz et son climat à la fin du Moyen-Âge. Histoire. Université Nancy 2, 2011. Français. ⟨NNT : 2011NAN21031⟩. ⟨tel-01749130⟩

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