|Achtung: Die Balkan-Kommission der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften wurde mit 31.12.2011 geschlossen|
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Transhumance: A Comparative Study
Financed by the Romanian Cultural Institute (Institutul Cultural Român), Cantemir Programme
“Transhumance: A Comparative Study” documents the practice of transhumance in Europe from an artistic and ethnological perspective. Transhumance represents a cultural heritage that has moulded for centuries the cultural European landscape. Nowadays transhumance is replaced by sedentary forms of sheep-breeding. In many regions it is already extinct. Nevertheless, the traces of this practice are significant: networks of pastoral routes that crisscross political borders; architecture related to shepherds’ activities; traditions linked to the seasonal movement of the flocks. The disappearing of transhumance affects not only the social and cultural life of local communities, but also the mountain regions’ biodiversity.
The project aims to map the remains of transhumance in Europe; it is a practice that represents a common heritage of many European peoples, as well as a means of linking them up by ignoring political borders and following just geographical lines. Transhumance is defined as the livestock’s movement in search of available pastures, over considerable distances, following seasonal patterns. Shepherds and their families live in temporary or movable shelters. As the case studies show, transhumance has been considerably altered. Caused mainly by economic reasons, these changes generate ecological and social transformations of the habitats. Today, the majority of shepherds rapidly move the livestock, in a few days, by motor vehicles, from the winter to the summer farm. Thus, the nomadic character of transhumance gradually vanishes.
The compared case studies are chosen in countries with different cultural traditions and speeds of development: Italy (Piemonte and Sicilia), Albania (Çajup mountains, near Girokaster), Turkey (Giresun area and Konya province), UK (Pembrokeshire, Wales), Greece (Perivoli), and Romania (from Mărginimea Sibiului to Zalău). The photographer Dragoş Lumpan has initiated this ample project on transhumance in 2010, and partial results have been presented as a photo exhibition in September 2010 at the conference “Balkanisms Today” in Vienna organized International Slavistic Commission (Commission for Balkan Linguistics), the Austrian Academy of Sciences (The Balkan Commission) and the University of Vienna (Institute for Romance Languages).
© Dragoş Lumpan