In this panel we want to gather current anthropological expertise on the Alps. In particular on local concepts and interpretations of climate change and of ethnographic understanding of current relationships between land, people and water.
In the last decades, anthropological work in the Alpine region has been surprisingly scarce compared to the 1960s and 1970s when several ethnographers worked in this area (for example Honigman 1972, Friedl 1974, Cole and Wolf 1974 or Netting 1981). In this panel, we would like to gather current anthropological expertise on the Alps and in particular on local concepts and interpretations of recent weather conditions and climate change. How does this change impact on the landscape and on the way people live in this landscape? What about the relationship between people and land; be they farmers or people that work with or care for land in other contexts. How do inhabitants of this mountainous region manage water and how do they assess the phenomenon of receding glaciers (Strauss 2009)? We think that the anthropological and ethnographic perspectives on these issues need not only more visibility but should also make stronger contributions to the interdisciplinary discourses of researchers and policy makers on this topic. In this panel we thus also hope to clarify the contributions anthropological and ethnographic research methods can make to the understanding of climate change in the Alps and to communicating this knowledge to local and international institutions and political bodies.