More than snow-business: An anthropological exploration of snow-making and the control of the weather in the Austrian Alps

Herta Nöbauer Dept. of Social and Cultural Anthropology, University of Vienna

Humans have been fascinated by snow across times and cultures. Its sensual appearance,transformative property and fundamental resource qualities in social and ecological life but also its dangerous capacities have induced humans to assign a rich variety of cultural meanings and social significances to snow. In my lecture I will explore snow and its changes in tourism in the European Alps. Based on my anthropological fieldwork in the Austrian Alps I will investigate the widespread practice of snow-making in ski resorts from anthropological perspectives.

What may and can snow-making and the employment of technology in ski resorts, more generally, narrate us about humans’ current understanding of their relation with the environment, the weather and the atmosphere? What can it tell us about the significance of the weather as a socialagent and cultural metaphor? What can we learn about humans’ sense of self and theconfiguration of identities in times of social and ecological crisis?

Aula Pagani

Giovedì 11 maggio, ore 15.00