Research Interests

Imaginations and processes of conservation

Sites of nature conservation are shaped by different processes, which are based on people's imaginations, values and justifications. Hence, success and failure of nature conservation (i.e. in protected areas or in working landscapes) depends on a complex web of interrelated and often contradicting practices. We analyse these aspects in different social and geographical contexts and from different angles in order to better understand the workings of conservation as an organising concept, a set of values and ideas, and as an institution.

Please have a look at our fact sheet for protected areas by Annina Michel and Astrid Wallner, get insights why Parc Adula failed, and read about our conservation research in the GIUZ anniversary blog.

Our group is participating in the University Priority Program Biodiversity and Global Change with several projects. For more information please sie URPP GCB's webpage.

Landscape perception and production

Landscapes can be regarded as an interface between human actions and natural processeses. People and societies shape and identify with landscapes and benefit from what could be called "landscape services" (see also our GIUZ anniversary blog entry and film). Often they are taken for granted until noticeable changes are announced or happening and debates about landscape development emerge. With our research we want to contribute to a better appreciation of landscapes as well as to their sustainable development. We do so with a transdisciplinary approach, i.e. by collaborating with different landscape stakeholders  as well as interdisciplinary collaboration, i.e., with philosophy, physical geography, and ecology.

Our group is currently involved in the project "Values of the ecological infrastructure in Swiss parks" (Valpar.ch) in collaboration with four other Swiss universities. For more information and a newsletter please have a look at the Valpar.ch webpage.

Young people's geographies and education

Itta Bauerand Sara Landoltare, associated scientist to SNS unit. As human geographers we are particularly interested in young people’s geographies. We draw on the experiences of young people and families in order to understand broader questions relating to social change and inequalities. Thematically, we do qualitative research in the fields of educational transitions, migration and urban nightlife. Our latest research project focuses on critical studies of school, education and learning in Switzerland, which comprehends the reproduction of social inequalities and increasing marketization of education by studying the highly selective processes inherent in school transitions.