The Stone Sea: a walk through mountain research

Strasser, Anita. 2021. The Stone Sea: a walk through mountain research. In: Anita Strasser and Carla Duarte, eds. Walking Places. Lisbon: DINÂMIA’CET-IUL, pp. 7-23. ISBN 9789897813092 [Book Section]

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Abstract or Description

This visual and textual essay takes the reader on a walk across the Stone Sea – a mountain range in the Austrian and Bavarian Alps which I researched over the course of four years. The research itself concentrates on the every-day lives of people living and working in this mountain range during the summer season, using storytelling to draw out people’s experiences and understanding of life in the Stone Sea. The accompanying photographs, informed by people’s accounts and my own experience of walking in this mountain range, help create an intimate visual ethnography that provides insight into some of the complex issues of mountain life such as tradition, tourism, modernisation and environmental sustainability. This research could only be carried out through walking this difficult mountain terrain, tracing the footsteps of sheep farmers, hunters, mountain rescue teams, innkeepers and many others. Walking the same footpaths many times over in this weathered landscape of rock, in varying weather conditions, physical and mental states, and with people’s narrative accounts in mind, has contributed to a better understanding of the political and social worlds of the people traversing this terrain on a regular basis. Through a phenomenological approach that shifts the focus onto movement, affect and memory, this essay intermingles the personal journey of my physical, emotional and visual experiences of mountaineering with the narrative accounts provided by others. It takes the reader on a geographical and metaphorical walk, a route through memories that connect to the present. It is a process where walking is a way of thinking and feeling through research and where research is a way of thinking and feeling through walking.

Item Type:

Book Section

Additional Information:

The paper was presented at the Walking Places Symposium held at Centro de Informaçao Urbana de Lisboa (the Centre for Urban Information of Lisbon) in January 2019.


visual sociology, walking as research method, mountain research

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Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Sociology > Centre for Urban and Community Research (CUCR)


1 March 2021Published

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Date Deposited:

30 Jul 2021 13:21

Last Modified:

30 Jul 2021 13:47


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