The work of Michel Serres has received recent attention in geographic scholarship, particularly his concept of the parasite. In this article I use this model to investigate an area of geographic study that has remained until now unexamined under this lens: the production of heritage landscapes. Through an engagement with a case from the Valtellina, a valley in the Italian Alps, I demonstrate the logic of the parasite that is evident in the actions of a local nonprofit organization that narratively and materially analyzes (culls), paralyzes (eliminates), and catalyzes (combines) local agricultural terraces in an application to UNESCO's World Heritage list. I do this by parasitizing the terraces and the application myself as I analyze, paralyze, and catalyze them to render a still partial but fuller representation of the valley's historic terraced landscapes. Parasites are ambivalent agents, abusive in some ways but useful in others.
- Michel Serres
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Sociology and Political Science