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The Solitude of Solanell

W. George Lovell
Geographical Review
Vol. 86, No. 2 (Apr., 1996), pp. 259-269
DOI: 10.2307/215959
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/215959
Page Count: 11
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The Solitude of Solanell
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Abstract

A visit to Solanell, a depopulated town near the Catalan city of La Seu d'Urgel, provides the inspiration to reflect on its demise. Based on the findings of the UNESCO Man and the Biosphere program, in which an interdisciplinary team conducted research on mountain ecosystems in the High Pyrenees, this article situates Solanell's experience in a regional context that is still marked by a clash between tradition and modernity. Today the power of decentralized authority, fueled by notions of Catalan autonomy in a New Spain and a New Europe, is a concrete political reality that is radically reshaping the conventions of culture and landscape. But so too are the impact and legacy of the Franco years, as well as age-old difficulties imposed by the physical environment. The fate of Solanell is considered an inevitable outcome of debilitating forces that the town became ill-equipped to confront.

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