On what grounds? Attachment and belonging to contested soils in the alps.

The project “On what grounds? Attachment and belonging to contested soils in the alps,” explores the notion of attachment and belonging through looking at but also beyond reactionary ideas of soil, questioning what it means to be attached to and engage with the ground - both as a living compound and as a concrete experience of people's attachment to the soil they live on/with. The research takes place in German-speaking villages in Italy’s northernmost region Trentino Alto Adige. Taking in consideration the particular historical context of this area, “On what grounds?” tries to give insight into the role of different (historical) narratives on the land. How do these local histories play into the understanding of inclusion and exclusion of individuals and groups that are considered to belong to the soil.

The project is grounded in in-depth ethnographical research (e.g. narrative biographical interviews, participant observation, walking and working with) as well as audio-visual research. Building on my experience as a filmmaker, an ethnographic film will be produced alongside academic texts. Using audio-visual tools to work partly with people whose attachment to soil is linked to conservative, anti-globalist and anti-EU sentiments, the research also aims to explore the value of visual and artistic tools when working with protagonists who challenge the anthropologists’ personal and political and/or ethical convictions in times of societal and political rupture – a challenge that is more than relevant to anthropology and documentary filmmaking.


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