The impacts of the commodification of landscapes, new social actors and uses on the territorial capital of mountain regions

This session aimed to focus on the valorization of mountain areas by the commodification of new new resources. These were, during the preparation of this session, identified as: (a) food, (b) raw materials, (c) drinking water, (d) hydropower, (e) residences and (f) landscapes of constructed wilderness. The specific and new character of the exploitation of these resources lies in a new dimension of asymmetric relationship between the population majority in the lowlands and the sparsely populated mountains which generates increasing conflicts of interest, resulting in larger functional disparities and social cleavages concerning land use, living conditions and definitions of ecological standards.

Myriam Lopes (Belo Horizonte) talked about the impacts of extractive industries in the state of Minas Gerais/Brazil from a historian’s perspective. Viviana Ferrario (Venice) focussed on the provision of Alpine hydropower for the perialpine lowland industries and urban agglomerations. The majority of presentations were dedicated to changed practices of residences which take place by an increased social and technical mobility in the form of multilocal practices and in the form of temporal or permanent migration. Presenters were Roland Löffler/Michael Beismann and colleagues (Innsbruck), Rodrigo Gonzalez (Neuquén/Argentina), Juliane Dame/Judith Müller (Heidelberg) and Govinda Choudhury (North Bengal/India).

The presentations were very interesting, generated partly vivid discussions and I could profit from. In general the format of 12 minutes seemed better to me than the old 20 minutes format. But this format is only possible under two conditions: The presentations have to have a close links with each other and it must be time for a finally discussion including all presentations. In this session the first condition was clearly given (in contrary to my other session about urbanization). But it lacked the time. So the potential of this format could not be fully exploited as too much presentations had to be held in the given time.

Manfred Perlik, PhD, Associated Professor, Centre for Development & Environment (CDE), University of Bern/Switzerland and Laboratoire PACTE, UMR 5194, Université de Grenoble/France


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