How networks of local political actors build the pan-Alpine region
6. Pan-Alpine networking: performing the regional assemblage
In the previous chapter, I analysed how the Alps are imagined and objectivized by the local political actors involved in the networking process. By creating a common and shared image of the Alps, local political actors are simultaneously internalizing and externalizing the idea and representation they have of them. The interviews I conduct- ed with local political actors, as well as the websites of the networks in the study, show that this image is not homogeneous. Nevertheless, common characteristics can be drawn, for example the Alpine socio-cultural and natural diversity as a foundation of its unity. According to the local political actors, the beauty of the Al- pine nature and heritage should, on the one hand, be protected and, on the other, promoted and managed in a sustainable way. In a sec- ond instance, the concept of identiﬁcation was introduced in order to demonstrate the capacity some local political actors have to identify themselves inside the perimeter they objectivized as the Alps. With local political actors’ increased awareness that mountains inherently entail something positive, some of them seize the opportunity to in- vest in that perimeter by proposing innovative initiatives and to im- plement projects in their local reality by creating institutions, such as the pan-Alpine networks, capable of supporting those projects. In so doing, as Debarbieux contends in an article published in the Journal of Alpine Research, mountain regions might become a refer- ent for collective action (Debarbieux, 2009). However, the geographer posits the following question: When and...
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