"I brought a hazelnut from Macedonia": Cultural and biological diversity in a globalizing world

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"I brought a hazelnut from Macedonia": Cultural and biological diversity in a globalizing world

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Publication BookChapter
Title "I brought a hazelnut from Macedonia": Cultural and biological diversity in a globalizing world
Author(s) Ouis, Pernilla ; Lisberg Jensen, Ebba
Date 2009
English abstract
This article deals with the cultural parallelism between biological and cultural diversity as manifested in allotment garden areas in Malmö. Applying an historical perspective, we argue that the mobility of species is almost as old as human history. Whenever new species are introduced, as when cultural traits meet, differences may be welcomed and introduced in the already existing context, just as they may be shunned, hated and persecuted. Introducing new species may be an efficient way of colonizing land, as shown by Alfred W. Crosby. In an increasingly globalized world, people seem to bring with them their old plants, and they exchange varieties and species with each other. In a multicultural city like Malmö, this is practised among the many allotment gardeners from all over the world. Sometimes it enhances contact and integration, and sometimes cultural practices and species comes to symbolize difference, contact with the country of origin or even ethnic identity. The article starts with a general overview of the history of migration and migrating species. Then we introduce the reader to the ideas of biological and cultural diversity and the discursive parallels between them. After that, we present some of our empirical data from interviews with allotment gardeners of different ethnic origin all over Malmö. Finally, we critically discuss how cultural and biological diversity as sometimes different but sometimes closely connected sets of associations are used in official discourse on cultural and biological change. Malmö has a long history of multiculturalism. Already in medieval times, Malmö was a dynamic centre of fishing and trade for people from all over the Baltic region. Germans, Poles, Danes and Swedes met and handled economic, religious and political matters on the sandy beach in the growing city. Today, Malmö is one of the most multicultural cities in Sweden, which can easily be observed in parks and allotment gardens, where people of different origins engage in leisure activities or in small-scale cultivation.
Publisher Malmö University
Host/Issue Transcending Boundaries : Environmental histories from the Öresund region
Series/Issue Skrifter med historiska perspektiv;9
ISSN 1652-2761
ISBN 978-91-7104-051-0
Pages p 127-141
Language eng (iso)
Subject(s) cultural diversity
biological diversity
Humanities/Social Sciences
Research Subject Categories::HUMANITIES and RELIGION
Research Subject Categories::FORESTRY, AGRICULTURAL SCIENCES and LANDSCAPE PLANNING::Landscape planning
Handle http://hdl.handle.net/2043/9477 (link to this page)

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