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IAS Public Lecture – Common-lands, practices and local knowledge: an archaeological perspective to the inner social dimension of the landscape

January 13, 2021 @ 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm

Public Lecture by Dr Anna Stagno, University of Genoa

During the last two centuries, many reforms addressed the social, economic and environmental organisation of European mountain areas with the aim to “rationalise” and, then, to “modernise” their uses. The impact of those reforms on the environmental resources management systems, as well as on the local societies of rural areas, was deep. Forbidding multiple uses, modifying the access rules to environmental resources, and reducing the extension of collective spaces, those reforms also aimed to delete the jurisdictional dimension of practices and thus their social and historical dimension.

Commons were constantly redefined through agro-sylvo-pastoral practices (at the same time possession and claiming practices). Each practice (e.g. shredding and pollarding techniques, or the ways to excavate channels at the ground level) is related to particular tools, techniques, as well as precise places, and the access rights excised there. Thus, practices were grounded on the transmission of empirical, local and localised knowledge. The changes in access rights promoted, mainly since the second half of the 19th c. and along all the 20th c., deeply influenced the process of transmission of knowledge between generation and in many cases resulted in an individualisation of the management of common resources.

Usually, present owners and users of commons (e.g. old shepherds) speak about a frustrating feeling for the uselessness of their knowledge as a consequence of the deep changes provoked by / derived from modernisation. This feeling reflects the archaeologically evident process of dematerialisation (and so disappearing) of the practices to appropriate commons and shared resources, that previously were characterised by a highly material dimension.

Through some examples from southern European mountains, the seminar aims to reflect on these processes between the 18th and 21st centuries, and in their interconnections with the parallel process of heritagisation, as well as on their effects on the conservation of what today is called our European common heritage.

This lecture is free and open to all.

The Lecture will take place on Zoom. To register please click here.


January 13, 2021
4:00 pm - 5:00 pm
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