How Can One Be a ‘Montagnard’? Social and Political Expressions of Modern Imaginaries of Territoriality

  • Bernard Debarbieux


The historical variations in the definition of the notion of culture, along with the variations of so-called cultural geography are well known; these have led to the disapproval of naturalistic and ecological perspectives, and to a greater consideration of intersubjectivity and of political and social processes in the construction of identity. But this renewal of academic paradigms should not blind us to the fact that many of them sprung from contemporary societies as imaginary figures, enabling social and geographical forms to take place. In looking through identity and territorial tensions in mountain regions in the world, this chapter aims to show the presence and role of those imaginary figures in contemporary societies.


Cultural geography Social and collective identities of mountain people Contemporary issues of mountain people. 


  1. Arendt, H. (1958). The human condition. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  2. Berg, P., & Dasmann, R. (1978). Reinhabiting California. In P. Berg (Ed.), Reinhabiting a separate country: A bioregional anthology of Northern California (pp. 217–220). San Francisco: Planet Drum.Google Scholar
  3. Bernbaum, E. (1998). Sacred mountains of the world. Berkeley: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  4. Blanckaert, C. (1993). Buffon and the natural history of man: Writing history and the ‘foundational myth’ of anthropology. History of the Human Sciences, 6(1), 13–50.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bretherton, C. (2001). Ecocentric identity and transformation politics. International Journal of Peace Studies, 6.
  6. Broc, N. (1974). La géographie des philosophes: géographes et voyageurs français au XVIIIe siècle. Paris: Éditions Ophrys.Google Scholar
  7. Broc, N. (1991). Les montagnes au siècle des Lumières. Paris: CTHS.Google Scholar
  8. Byers, E. A. (1998). The mountain forum. Unasylva, 49(195), 13–19.Google Scholar
  9. Castells, M. (1997). The power of identity. Oxford: Blackwell Publishers.Google Scholar
  10. Célérier, J. (1938). La montagne au Maroc, essai de définition et de classification. Hesperis, XXV, 109–180.Google Scholar
  11. Clark, R. W. (1953). The Victorian mountaineers. London: BT Batsford.Google Scholar
  12. Cognat, B. (1973). La Montagne colonisée. Paris: Éditions du Cerf.Google Scholar
  13. Debarbieux, B. (2008). Construits identitaires et imaginaires de la territorialité: variations autour de la figure du ‘montagnard’. Annales de géographie, 660–661, 90–115.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Debarbieux, B., & Gillet, F. (Eds.). (2000). Mountain regions: A research subject? Brussels: European Commission.Google Scholar
  15. Debarbieux, B., & Price, M. (2008). Representing mountains: From local and national to global common good. Geopolitics, 13(1), 148–168.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Debarbieux, B., & Rudaz, G. (2008). Linking mountain identities throughout the world: The experience of Swiss municipalities. Cultural Geography, 15(4), 497–517.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Debarbieux, B., & Rudaz, G. (2015). The mountain: A political history from the enlightenment to the present. Chicago: University Press of Chicago.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Evans, M.-L., Santelli, R., & George-Warren, H. (2004). The Appalachians: America’s first and last frontier. London: Random House.Google Scholar
  19. Funnell, D., & Parish, R. (2001). Mountain environments and communities. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  20. Georges Louis Leclerc, Comte de Buffon. (1778). Supplément à l’ Histoire naturelle, tome IV. Paris: Imprimerie Royale.Google Scholar
  21. Guérin, J.-P. (1984). L’Aménagement de la montagne en France: politique, discours et production d’espaces dans les Alpes du Nord. Gap: Ophrys.Google Scholar
  22. Haas, P. (1992). Epistemic communities and international policy coordination. International Organization, 46(1), 1–35.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Ives, J. (2002). Along a steep pathway. Our Planet, UNEP Magazine, 131, 3–5.Google Scholar
  24. Kapos, V., et al. (2000). Developing a map of the world’s mountain forests. In M. Price & N. Butt (Eds.), Forests in sustainable mountain development: A state-of knowledge report for 2000. Wallingford: CAB International.Google Scholar
  25. Leclerc, G. L. comte de Buffon. (1749). Histoire naturelle générale et particulière, tome III. Paris: Imprimerie Royale.Google Scholar
  26. Lejeune, D. (1988). Les alpinistes en France: 1875–1919. Etude d’histoire sociale, étude de mentalité. Paris: CTHS.Google Scholar
  27. Lewis, H. M., Johnston, L., & Askins, D. (1978). Colonialism in modern America: The Appalachian case. Boone: Appalachian Consortium Press.Google Scholar
  28. McGinnis, M. V. (Ed.). (1999). Bioregionalism. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  29. Messerli, B., & Bernbaum, E. (2004). The role of culture, education, and science for sustainable mountain development. In M. F. Price, L. Jansky, & A. Iatsenia (Eds.), Key issues for mountain areas. Tokyo: United Nations University Press.Google Scholar
  30. Messerli, B., & Ives, J. (Eds.). (1997). Mountains of the world: A global priority. London: Parthenon.Google Scholar
  31. Mondada, L. (2001). La ‘montagne’ comme objet de savoir co-construit dans le débat scientifique. Revue de Géographie Alpine, 89(2), 79–92.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Nash, R. (1967). Wilderness and the American mind. New Haven: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
  33. Otero, G. (2004). Global economy, local politics: Indigenous struggles, civil society and democracy. Canadian Journal of Political Science, 37(2), 325–346.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Price, M., Jansky, L., & Iatsenia, A. (2004a). Key issues for mountain areas. Tokyo: United Nations University Press.Google Scholar
  35. Price, M., Lysenko, I., & Gloersen, E. (2004b). Delineating Europe’s mountains. Revue de Géographie Alpine/Journal of Alpine Studies, 2, 61–86.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Ramakrishnan, P. S., Saxena, K. G., & Rao, K. S. (2006). Shifting agriculture and sustainable development of North-Eastern India: Tradition in transition. New Delhi/Oxford: UNESCO and IBH Publishers.Google Scholar
  37. Remy, P. (2001). Un lobby territorial et l’expertise scientifique. In B. Debarbieux & P.-A. Landel (Eds.), La montagne entre science et politique. Grenoble: Dossiers de la Revue de Géographie Alpine.Google Scholar
  38. Robertson, R. (1995). Glocalization: Time-space and homogeneity-heterogeneity. In M. Featherstone, S. Lash, & R. Robertson (Eds.), Global modernities. London: Sage.Google Scholar
  39. Rudaz, G., & Debarbieux, B. (2013). La montagne suisse: un objet politique incertain. Lausanne: Presses Polytechniques et Universitaires romandes.Google Scholar
  40. Sale, K. (1985). Dwellers in the land: The bioregional vision. Philadelphia: New Society Publishers.Google Scholar
  41. Sarmiento, F., Romero, H., & Messerli, B. (1999). The Andean Mountain Association, the International Geographical Union, and Alexander Von Humboldt on Mount Chimborazo. International Geographical Union Bulletin, 49(2), 161–164.Google Scholar
  42. Stone, P. (Ed.). (1992). The state of the world’s mountains. London: Zed Books.Google Scholar
  43. Taylor, C. (1989). Sources of the self: The making of the modern identity. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  44. Tissot, L. (2004). Du touriste au guide de montagne: la question de l’identité Alpine (1850–1920). In D. Grange (Ed.), L’espace alpin et la modernité. Bilans et perspectives au tournant du siècle. Grenoble: Presses Universitaires de Grenoble.Google Scholar
  45. Trevor-Roper, H. (1983). The highland tradition of Scotland. In E. Hobsbawn & T. Ranger (Eds.), The invention of tradition (pp. 15–41). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  46. Walter, F. (2004). Les figures paysagères de la nation. Paris: EHESS.Google Scholar
  47. Whisnant, D. E. (1980). Modernizing the mountaineer. New York: Burt Franklin.Google Scholar
  48. Whymper, E. (1900). Scrambles amongst the Alps in the years 1860–69. London: John Murray.Google Scholar
  49. Zimmer, O. (1998). In search of natural identity: Alpine landscape and the reconstruction of the Swiss nation. Comparative Studies of Society and History, 40, 637–665.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Bernard Debarbieux
    • 1
  1. 1.University of GenevaGenevaSwitzerland

Personalised recommendations