Click the star to add/remove an item to/from your individual schedule.
You need to be logged in to avail of this functionality, and to see the links to virtual rooms.

Accepted Paper:

Claiming value: on the role of unprofitability and socio-cultural appreciation for the future of pastoral commons in the Austrian Alps  
Lisa Francesca Rail (University of Vienna)

Paper short abstract:

I explore negotiations over economic and non-economic value in the persistence of common pastures in the Austrian Alps. I argue for the indispensable role of cultural valuation in the upkeep of transhumant animal husbandry and for combining commons theory with anthropological theories of value.

Paper long abstract:

Small-scale transhumant animal husbandry in the Austrian Alps is under economic pressure: farms in mountainous areas cannot compete with less labor intensive, scaled-up milk and meat production in the low lands. This is pertinent for both the past and future persistence of alpine commons. On the one hand the remoteness of these commons has been suggested as reason for why they have not become subject to enclosure. On the other the non-viability of mountain farms has led to substantial closures of farms and the abandonment of alps since decades. Many alpine commons struggle to sufficiently stock their pastures and to share the workload of managing them with few remaining farming members. In this context the explicit mobilization of non-economic value plays is crucial for the maintenance of alpine farming and its commons: internally farmers explain their continued livestock keeping in terms of identity, the beauty of work processes, and tradition; externally the maintenance of alps is framed as care for a biodiversity-rich and cultivated landscape – as ecological and cultural service for the public, for which both farmers and rural politicians, as well as higher level civil servants demand monetary reimbursement. Beyond this ethnographic context I take the paper towards broader conceptual considerations, namely towards the role of theories of value for understanding the commons. I propose going beyond the Ostromian framework of collective action as ultimately the outcome of individuals weighing costs and benefits and instead turning to anthropological theories of value, social cohesion, and property in non-capitalist socialities.

Panel P079
Uncommon commons: value, hope, and transformations in high altitudes and high latitudes
  Session 1 Thursday 28 July, 2022, -