This document looks at the history and development of agricultural co-operatives in France.
The UN have declared 2012 as the International Year of Cooperatives in order to promote these “collective” structures for their contribution to socio-economic development, food security and rural development. In France, the history of the cooperative movement has been marked by a number of distinct phases and influenced by various schools of thought.
For example, there were the influence of “Utopian socialism”,with Charles Fourier (1772-1837) and his community ideal based around structures called “Phalansteries”, and that of Christian socialism, with its leading figure Charles Gide (1847-1932) and the ideal of the cooperative republic.
The creation of these alternative structures was seen as a way of breaking free from the constraints of the economic system at the time.