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Image brokering and the postmodern peasant: Material culture and identity in the Stubaital

Kelli Ann Costa, University of Massachusetts Amherst


The connection between identity and place has been made many times by scholars from myriad disciplines. In Tyrol this connection has recently been complicated by the intersection of modernity and globalism at this identity: place connection. Rural communities in Tyrol have been faced with an increasing burden of caring and providing for thousands of visitors on a daily basis; this has been hampered by dwindling space, unacceptable quarters, and an inability of local inhabitants to cope with the stress of constant intrusion into their daily lives. This dissertation examines the problems encountered by a rural population in the Stubai Valley of the Austrian Tyrol. I discuss the difficulties of seasonal adjustment, as well as the constant problems of spatial negotiation as the crush of tourist populations ebb and flow throughout the year. Most importantly, I suggest that there has been a conscious construction and reconstruction of Tyrolean identity with the advent of the burgeoning tourist economy. I call this the "brokered image"; one that has been reluctantly accepted by local inhabitants, enhanced by tourist buros and museums, and made real by the tourist populations. This is not to say that Tyroleans in general regret their dependence on the tourist market; on the contrary, they have developed an economy which thrives on tourism and many Stubai inhabitants have grown wealthy due to their involvement in the industry. What the "brokered image" has accomplished is a caricature of the Tyrolese which is neither true nor false--it is somewhere in between the poles of authenticity.

Subject Area

Cultural anthropology|Archaeology

Recommended Citation

Costa, Kelli Ann, "Image brokering and the postmodern peasant: Material culture and identity in the Stubaital" (1998). Doctoral Dissertations Available from Proquest. AAI9841857.