Alpine hazards in times of climate change. Patterns of interpretation and strategies of action from the 18th to the 21st century
Climate change expands the realm of experience for the dependencies between society and nature to the most diverse locations and different times. The causal lines are no longer clear and unambiguous but blurred and multi-layered, which concerns both everyday life and the sciences. Nature, which in many concepts is thought to be a constant, must be reconceptualised as a socially influenced variable as a consequence of the evidence of climate change. However, the most recent IPCC reports and the practice of alpine natural disaster management suggest that society regards nature as a clearly separated field of being: as "amoral" and "apolitical" and as a resource that is to be formed predominantly on a technical instrumental level.
This understanding of nature has shaped the thoughts and action of the stakeholders in risk management in the Alps for the past three centuries. However, criticism of this paradigm is growing among stakeholders from civil society and non-professional and professional risk managers.They query whether the traditional patterns of interpretation and practices are appropriate for the challenges posed by climate change and are seeking alternatives.
The association investigates the change in patterns of interpretation and practices in alpine natural disaster management since the 18th century. The goal of the project is to identify blockages in thinking and acting and alternative paths of development in view of the challenges posed by climate change. To this end, answers will be sought to:
- how, in the course of climate change, the interpretations of nature or of natural disasters are changing and whether a repolitisation and remoralisation of the understanding of nature is taking place,
- in which areas an accelerated change in the interpretation patterns or practices is taking place and in which areas the interpretation patterns or practices are more stable,
- to what extent current interpretation patterns are determined by historical developments, philosophical traditions of thought and local knowledge that has been passed down verbally,
- what consequences can be drawn from the radical change in patterns of interpretation at the start of the modern era for the current phase of change and dealing with climate change.
project period: March 2011- February 2014
Sub-Research Projects of the Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology (under coordination of Prof. Frömming):
Projekttitel: Alpine Natural Disasters: Social Anthropological and philosophical Perspectives
1) Visualisation and mapping of alpine local knowlege in times of climate change (Christian Reichel)
2) From Theodizee to Technodizee to Anthropodizee. Philosophy of Moral and the change of the Imagination and Interpretation of Alpine Nature in Climate Change (Dr. Josef Bordat)
Project partners / Principal Investigators of the joint research project
- Freie Universität Berlin, Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology, Disaster Research Unit (Dr. Martin Voss: Project coordination)
- Freie Universität Berlin, Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology (Prof. Dr. Urte Undine Frömming; Dr. Josef Bordat; Christian Reichel, M.A.)
- Munich University of Technology, Chair for Forest and Environmental Politics (Dr. Klaus Wagner; Prof. Dr. Michael Suda)
- Georg-August University Göttingen, Seminar on Medieval and Modern History (Prof. Dr. Manfred Jakubowski-Tiessen; Peter Reinkemeier, MA)
- Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research WSL, Research Unit Economics and Social Sciences (Dr. Sylvia Kruse, Prof. Dr. Irmi Seidl)
Projektteam of the Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology
Research Area Environmental Anthropology:
Prof. Dr. Urte Undine Frömming - Junior professor at the Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology
Disaster Research Area:
Prof. Dr. Martin Voss - Guest professor at the Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology (project coordinator)
- Sascha Schildhauer M.A.
The Project is funded by BMBF (German federal ministry of education and research). Focus of research fund: "Social Dimensions of climate protection and cliamte change" as part of the Program social-ecological Research.
Prof. Dr. Urte Undine Frömming
More Information about the whole Research project: www.alpine-naturgefahren.de