MRD Call for Papers | The Role of Culture in Transformation Towards Sustainable Development in Mountains

MRD smallThe journal Mountain Research and Development has issued a call for papers related to the role culture plays in our transition towards sustainable development in mountains for its three peer-reviewed sections: MountainDevelopment, MountainResearch, and MountainAgenda. Notices of intent should be submitted by 30 September. 

In 1996, the World Commission on Culture and Development (WCCD) published a report on Our Creative Diversity. The WCCD wanted to emphasize the fundamental relevance of culture in sustainable development and to address questions such as: What are the cultural and socio-cultural factors that affect development? What is the cultural impact of social and economic development? How can valuable elements of a traditional culture be combined with modernization? What are the cultural dimensions of individual and collective well-being? Through this Focus Issue, Mountain Research and Development aims to highlight the importance of these questions for sustainable development in mountains.

Mountains worldwide are home to a rich cultural diversity, expressed in mountain populations’ identities, languages, arts, agricultural practices, socioeconomic arrangements, governance, and music. Most mountain landscapes are cultural, as they have been shaped over the centuries by mountain communities and reflect their world views and knowledge of natural resource management. Mountain areas often play an important spiritual and social role, having a special meaning in people’s identities, religions, and ritual practices, or being simply places for recreation and social gathering.

Mountain communities are undergoing profound and rapid processes of sociocultural change, caused by drivers such as outmigration, urbanization, and increasing insertion into the market economy. These changes are threatening the rich cultural heritage found in mountains. However, many mountain communities are responding and adapting to change in creative ways, drawing on this cultural heritage to develop their own development pathways. They may, however, also retreat (or be forced to retreat by development agencies) into culture as a cocoon that will supposedly preserve their identity and values. Moreover, a defensive attitude aiming to protect a cultural identity can lead to conflicts. Are we in a position to make sure that culture is a source of creativity and empowerment, that it constitutes the roots upon which global ethics can grow, and that it helps bridge the divides between the individual and the communitarian, as expressed in the WCCD’s 1996 report?

MRD is looking for contributions for its three peer-reviewed sections.

1. MountainDevelopment (Transformation Knowledge)
Papers should present systematically validated experiences and research insights into development solutions that consider mountain communities’ cultures and social practices. 

Topics may include, for example: 

  • How can the local knowledge of mountain communities contribute to sustainable development and/or natural resource management?
  • How can mountain cultures become a resource for adaptation and resilience building?
  • What social innovations work for sustainable development in mountains and how can technical innovations (including digitalization) help maintain social cohesiveness?
  • How can cultural, ethnic, and religious diversity become a factor of sustainable mountain development, and how can one deal creatively with opposing forces such as individualism and communitarianism?
2. MountainResearch (Systems Knowledge)
Papers should take an integrative approach to analyze the way mountain cultures are affected by, and respond to, drivers of sociocultural change such as migration, urbanization, and market integration, amongst others.

Topics may include, for example:
  • Cultural ecosystem services in mountains
  • Dynamics of mountain cultural landscapes 
  • Reinvention of mountain identities in the context of global change and/or international or national conflicts
  • Threats to and resistance of cultural heritage in mountains
3. MountainAgenda (Target Knowledge)
Papers should provide well-referenced overviews of mountain cultures in a context of global change, and of how cultural initiatives in mountains relate to sustainable development. These overviews can be based on a systematic stakeholder process or a review of the literature. They should conclude with agendas for future research or policy aiming at increasing sustainability in mountains.

Topics may include, for example:
  • Mountain communities’ visions of well-being and of development
  • Designing agendas for cultural sustainability with mountain stakeholders
  • The contribution of mountain cultural heritage to the SDGs
Please e-mail your notice of intent indicating your main research question, your conceptual framework, and your methodology (max. 500 words) to the MRD Editorial Office by 30 September 2018:

Full papers must be submitted by 1 February 2019, with publication of the issue expected in November 2019. 

As a not-for-profit open-access journal, MRD charges authors a publication fee to offset part of its production costs. 

More information, including guidelines for authors, can be found on the MRD website.