"Ne pas grever l'avenir au bénéfice du présent". Une histoire environnementale de l'extraction du charbon de la fin du 18e siècle à l'Entre-deux-guerres
: un développement non soutenable. L'exemple du Couchant de Mons et du Valenciennois

Student thesis: Doc typesDoctor of History, Art and Archeology


This is a study on the history of the environmental impacts of coal mining in the «Couchant de Mons» and the «Valenciennois» basins and the development of extractivism in Belgium and France from the 18th century to the Inter-war period. It highlights the cultural foundations and the scientific and legal basis explaining the expansion of coal mining in these two countries, especially regarding the regulation of mining damages. Reactions of the States, mining companies and the inhabitants of the basins to the environmental damages caused by coal extraction are also analyzed. Processes of negotiation, power strategies and movements against coal mining are at the heart of this thesis. The heavy weight of collieries in the
regulation system of mining damages, the willingness of governments to allow the extraction of coal and the development of a «War against coal» by the inhabitants are analyzed from several exemplary situations. Finally, this work considers the influence of geologists and mining engineers in the creation of a «science of mining damages» through three scientific
controversies: induced seismicity, theories on mining subsidence and flooding engendered by coal mining.
Date of Award2 Feb 2018
Original languageFrench
Awarding Institution
  • University of Namur
  • Université de Lille 3 - Sciences Humaines et Sociales
SponsorsRégion des Hauts de France & Université Charles-de-Gaulle-Lille 3
SupervisorIsabelle Parmentier (Supervisor), Béatrice Touchelay (Co-Supervisor), Thomas Le Roux (Jury), Geneviève Massard-Guilbaud (Jury), Laurent Honnoré (Jury) & Judith D. Rainhorn (Jury)


  • Coal
  • Collieries
  • Environnement
  • Extractivism
  • Floods
  • Geology
  • Induced seismicity
  • Mines
  • Mining damages
  • Sustainable development

Attachment to an Research Institute in UNAMUR

  • Transitions

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