Innovations and valorisation of local specificities in mediterranean uplands – MED-INN-LOCAL

Submission summary

Mediterranean countries are faced with profound and fast mutations due to global changes and recurrent systemic economic and political crises. Rural territories, and among them the most marginalized that we call here “uplands” and that constitute the central object of this proposal, encounter important transformations linked to the scale of these mutations.
MED-INN-Local targets the analysis of these transformations, with a focus on the commercial, cultural, territorial or political development of local specificities through (i) various labelling processes involving geographical indications and environmental quality, (ii) the development of alternative processing and trade chains for local specialties, or (iii) the various new forms of alternative tourism. All these new dynamics are linked to increasing mobility (of people, ideas, techniques, monetary funds) between uplands and surrounding globalized spaces. We want to test an hypothesis commonly raised by various actors in development: “through these dynamics, uplands invent and experiment new models of sustainable territorial development that could lead to better governance of territories and resources”. In this optimistic hypothesis in which authenticity and specificity constitute the support of innovation and wealth creation, uplands that have escaped conversion to capitalist agriculture are perceived not as backwards and immobile countries as they usually are, buts as living laboratories for territorial innovation.
We first aim at better understanding the notion of “local specificity” through the analysis of emergence of patrimonial and territorial resources. Then we will evaluate development systems targeting the valorisation of these new resources. Through this double analysis of valorisation systems and dynamics of local specificities, we aim at questioning the dynamics of relationship between uplands, surrounding spaces and States, and the related redefinition of local economic systems, identities and governance systems.
Our scientific approach is more cumulative than comparative. It will be developed at the scale of the Mediterranean region, with crossed studies between North and South. This regional and collaborative perspective will allow addressing the issues of development of local specificities in varied cultural, political and socio-economic contexts. We will question in the same movement the sustainability of local initiatives developed in the North, and their relevancy for the valorisation of local diversities and the emergence of a real dynamic of rural revival in the South.
Our approach combines theoretical approaches and the observation of real dynamics, with a transdisciplinary perspective which combines different complementary and articulated scales: public policies at national and international levels, various development “projects”, and various forms of collective action. We associate questions that are usually disjoint: (i) questions about local specificities and their development, with reference to “patrimony” and “territorial resources”; (ii) questions about relationship between hinterlands and surrounding spaces through the development of tourism and other types of mobility (iii) questions about local governance systems and relationship between local societies and States.

Project coordination

MICHON Genevieve (Gouvernance, Ressources, Environnement, Développement, IRD) –

The author of this summary is the project coordinator, who is responsible for the content of this summary. The ANR declines any responsibility as for its contents.


LISA UNIV CORSE Lieux Identités eSpaces Activités
PACTE UJF Politique, Action publique et territoires
LERMA UCAM Laboratoire d'études et de recherches sur les montagnes atlasiques
BICADE MANOUBA Biogéographie – Climatologie Appliquée – Dynamique Erosive
E3R UMVA Laboratoire de l'équipe de recherche sur la région et la régionalisation
LPED IRD Laboratoire Population-Environnement-Développement, IRD
LRDE INRA Laboratoire de Recherche sur le Développement de l'Elevage
GRED IRD Gouvernance, Ressources, Environnement, Développement, IRD

Help of the ANR 998,324 euros
Beginning and duration of the scientific project: October 2013 - 48 Months

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