Accepted Paper:

And the farmer became a gardener: methodological challenges in the Swiss Alps  

Author:

Andrea Boscoboinik (University of Fribourg)

Paper short abstract:

This paper will focus on methodological challenges concerning the research on the transformations for the development of tourism in a region of the Swiss Alps. The political, economic, and ecological interests are so significant, that they challenge the way of doing fieldwork.

Paper long abstract:

This paper will focus on methodological challenges concerning the research on the transformations in a mountain region in canton Valais, Switzerland. This canton, mostly of mountain character, has followed deep transformations during particularly the second half of 20th century for the development of tourism.

The Alpine valleys have seen heavy building activities, the traditional farming systems have been drastically reduced, whereas tourist facilities increased heavily in number. An initiative launched by the ecologist Franz Weber was voted in March 2012 to introduce a law that will forbid new constructions since January 1, 2013 in those municipalities with more than 20% of second homes. The initiative's results have shown a strong cleavage between the Swiss Plateau and cities against mountain and ski resorts. Consequently, a research concerning the transformation of this region for tourist purposes became very sensitive. The political, economic, and ecological interests are so significant, that they challenge the way of doing fieldwork and interviews in this region.

I will present some results of an exploratory research conducted in Valais in September 2012, as well as the issues that have to be taken into account when organising a long term project research.

Panel P31
Empirical research of modern rurality: towards multilocality and interdisciplinarity