Alain Breyer


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The Historical Dictionary of the French language tells us that the word "caravan", first spelled "CARAVAN", appeared in French in 1195 and in its current form in 1657. He was taken in favor of the Crusades through Arab, the Persian Karwan, meaning row of camels troupe of travelers. The word means in effect a line of travelers in Eastern countries, before serving up a group company, animals moving in groups. The modern meaning of "vehicle equipped to serve housing" in 1930, and is borrowed from English caravan, who had himself taken French caravan in 1674. In 1890, he was already designated a "trailer craft", as tourists can still find accompanied by a horse in the Emerald Isle.

Curious fate that term first applied to a collection of similar objects, humans and animals, which is to appoint a single object, hung today in a car, unless the vehicle is merged with him, becoming camper or mobile home. The common point is that in both cases, the object on the move, even if his presence on the road, especially if it is registered in the Netherlands, does not cease to be deemed undesirable. In most cases, it is an assembly used especially during the holiday time, except when the caravans are reformed in caravans used to travel from one camp or the other "gypsies" including the Roma often shamefully hounded by little concerned to respect the freedom of movement in Europe.

But now there was a new avatar: the caravan stops and takes root. By sedentarization, she joined one or the other group of his peers, and sometimes adorned with fixed schedules too. In the same movement, the mobile home becomes immobile. Sometimes garden gnomes cross at its periphery. The campgrounds are also villages permanently implanted, populated by residents sometimes intermittent, vacation time or weekends, unless that daytime occupations, sometimes permanent, in that it remains permanently. Sedentary caravan is no longer second home, but mainly good. Sometimes it is combined with another trailer, intended to regain normal function of transhumance holidays and other leisure time.

This is how people are of a new type. Rarely from the uptown or high-income earners, the inhabitants of these settlements immobilized so cleverly photographed by Alain Breyer, share original sociability often filled with a larger dose of solidarity in the most common habitats. All, however, did not arrive in the villages after setbacks. Participation in the form of crypto-urban culture based on a volunteer in which we could detect traces of nostalgia. Of a world neighborhood of the settlement, "wedge", which disappears from the urban world of today.

Photos of Alain Breyer show us a humanity that was certainly not the appeal of women's magazines. Framed and placed in ways almost uniform, they are beyond their undeniable aesthetic qualities, an original anthropological document and largely unpublished. Although I have to preach against my chapel, I vow that these good people do not become too fast prey sociologists clad questionnaires giving them the illusion of doing scientific work. If it is not in the head of the new settled, a flight away from the modern world, there is some cop in their territorial description. They are entitled to what we do not too intrusive. Look at the pictures of Breyer and ask ourselves if a certain extent, they do not offer a more relaxed image of ourselves. To protect against any sordid speech.

Claude Javeau

Emeritus Professor of Sociology

Université Libre de Bruxelles