The category of mountain as source of legitimacy for national parks
Arpin, I. ; Granjou, C.
Type de document
Article de revue scientifique à comité de lecture
Affiliation de l'auteur
IRSTEA GRENOBLE UR DTGR FRA ; IRSTEA GRENOBLE UR DTGR FRA
Résumé / Abstract
This article aims to show that the category of mountain has been a useful resource for justifying that national parks be major instruments for environmental knowledge and action throughout their history. The first part relates how mountain national parks became major tools for nature conservation. We describe the shift that took place during the era of nature conservation, from a register of representativeness (mountains as miniatures of the globe) to a register of exceptionality (mountains as the last refuges for remarkable species and ecosystems). The second part presents the changes that accompanied the emergence and rise of the notion of biodiversity and how these changes undermined the exceptionality register of legitimacy and raised sharp criticism against national parks. The third part shows how mountain national parks’ managers sought to respond to this criticism by associating a new register of legitimacy (sensitivity) to the category of mountain (mountains as sentinels in a rapidly changing globe) and combining it with previous registers of legitimacy (representativeness and exceptionality). Focusing on scientific programmes recently carried out in French national parks, we identify two complementary means of mixing these three registers of legitimacy. We conclude by characterizing the category of mountain as a long-standing, situated and constructed resource that requires social skills and competences to be maintained over time.
Environmental Science & Policy, vol. 49, p. 57 - 65