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Alpine Natural Hazards in Climate Change (ANiK) Patterns of interpretation and practices of action from 18th to 21st century (completed)


Disaster Research Unit (DRU)

Principal Investigator:
Research Team:

Karsten Balgar


funded by Federal Ministry of Education and Research (Social-Ecological Research: Social Dimensions of Climate Change and Climate Protection)

Funding Code: 01UV1004

Cooperation Partners:

Disaster Research Unit, Freie Universität Berlin (Coordination)

Technische Universität München, Chair for Forest and Environmental Politics

Georg-August-Universität Göttingen, Seminar on Medieval and Modern History

Freie Universität Berlin, Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology

Associated Partner:

Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research WSL, Research Unit Economics and Social Sciences

Mar 01, 2011 — Jun 30, 2014

Sub-Project "Remoralization of Nature"


Nature, which in many concepts is thought to be a constant, must be reconceptualised as a socially influenced variable as a consequence of the evidence of climate change. However, the most recent IPCC reports and the practice of alpine natural disaster management suggest that society regards nature as a clearly separated field of being: as "amoral" and "apolitical" and as a resource that is to be formed predominantly on a technical instrumental level.

The association investigates the change in patterns of interpretation and practices in the management of alpine natural hazards since the 18th century. The goal of the project is to identify blockages in thinking and acting and to explore alternative paths of development in the face of the challenges posed by climate change.

The DRU investigates (1) the manner in which civil society organizations act as a mediator or translator between the local community and the players in the professional management of natural hazards, and (2) whether there is a tendency towards (re-)moralization of the understanding of nature in the context of discourse on climate change. Further, the DRU is developing a theoretical framework to integrate the research results and to explain how patterns of interpretation gain acceptance and even hegemony.

Download (in German):

Programme of concluding conference