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Wilderness production in the Southern Carpathian Mountains. Towards a political ecology of 'untouched nature'

Iordăchescu, George-Adrian (2019) Wilderness production in the Southern Carpathian Mountains. Towards a political ecology of 'untouched nature'. Advisor: Bertelli, Dott. Linda. Coadvisor: Büscher, Prof. Bram . pp. 232. [IMT PhD Thesis]

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This dissertation addresses a current interest in wild nature protection in Romania. As the phenomenon is spreading within the European periphery, this research aims to understand the discursive and material production of wilderness by examining the development of a legal framework for ‘virgin forest’1 protection, and by scrutinizing the creation of a private wilderness reserve. Building on recent political ecology scholarship, and adopting a critical realist position it asks: which are the most important societal and political dynamics championing wilderness protection? How does a strict protection regime change rural livelihoods? And, how do local people mobilize against conservation projects aiming to strictly preserve an ‘untouched nature’? Critical discourse analysis is used to investigate the emergence of ‘virgin forests’ as a political object. The creation of an iconic wilderness reserve is approached with the extended case method and investigated through ethnographic research in the municipalities around the Făgăraș Mountains (Transylvanian Alps), Romania. I argue that virgin forests receive legal protection as an abstracted object detached from its historical co-created nature. Further, I show that access regulation and exclusive ownership are the main techniques for securing wilderness reserves. By drawing comparisons with other Eastern European projects, I conclude that at least for the Romanian case, the current ways of protecting wilderness not only disrupt local livelihoods but also erase a rich environmental history. The dissertation closes with a few recommendations for a more convivial type of conservation based on already existing historical environmental governance institutions.

Item Type: IMT PhD Thesis
Subjects: N Fine Arts > NX Arts in general
PhD Course: Analysis and Management of Cultural Heritage
Identification Number: 10.6092/imtlucca/e-theses/298
NBN Number: urn:nbn:it:imtlucca-27320
Date Deposited: 28 Feb 2020 10:24
URI: http://e-theses.imtlucca.it/id/eprint/298

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