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New Immigration Into the European Alps: Emerging Research Issues

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Year of publication2012
Author(s)Oliver Bender and Sigrun Kanitscheider
Publisher(s)International Mountain Society (IMS)
ISBN/ISSNprint ISSN 0276-4741 / online ISSN 1994-7151
JournalMountain Research and Development
Publication typeJournal article
After a long period of emigration from the rural areas in the European Alps, a trend reversal can be observed in the last quarter of the 20th century. However, this “new immigration” affects the Alpine countries unevenly in terms of both timing and intensity. Furthermore, growing spatial mobility and consequential transformation of settlements involve several population segments with diverse motives for their movements. This article sketches the temporal development and the extent of the diverse immigration and circulation patterns for the individual countries of the Alps and identifies knowledge gaps. Furthermore, opportunities and risks of the new immigration for both the “new highlanders” as well as the indigenous communities are briefly discussed. The authors conclude with an outline of further needs for basic research in this field and an appeal to leverage the new immigration for rural development.
The article was already discussed within the “Demography and Employment” working group of the Alpine Conference and is expected to serve as a basis for discussion in the International Scientific Committee on Research in the Alps (ISCRA) workshop “New Highlanders” taking place at the Alpweek 2012 in Poschiavo, Switzerland.
open access issue, print on demand