Nights and Mountains

Abstract : The alternation between day and night has long structured life on Earth and determined the ways in which societies, as well as our individual and collective rhythms, function. From the beginning, humans have sought to escape the rhythms imposed by Nature and to extend their empire across the globe. While this conquest of the world system is now more or less complete, night – characterised, like a mountain, by seasonal rhythms and a gradual incline – has long remained a time and space almost untouched by human activity: a downtime, a world unexplored. But times are changing. For the past 20 years, economic and social activities have gradually colonised the night. Lighting is becoming commonplace everywhere, and its purpose is steadily changing, for example, from security to convenience. Many kinds of machinery run nonstop, and night work is becoming routine. The general trend is for there to be an increase in the prevalence and range of services. The extension of business opening hours into the night is becoming more and more common. The availablity of night-time entertainment is expanding. Theme nights are a hit. The media curfew is over, and the Internet makes it possible to surf all night long. The result is that we sleep an hour less than our grandparents did; in big cities, the night has been reduced to three wee hours between 1:30 a.m. and 4:30 a.m. These movements to expand economic and social activity beyond the boundaries of the day, this “nocturnalisation” of society and “diurnisation” of the night in Western cities and metropolises, have been well documented. They have received less attention, however, outside urban centres and specifically in mountain areas. The central assumption of this call for articles is that mountains have not been spared the reach of the day into the night, and are becoming territories of tension, investigation, creativity and experimentation that compel us to rethink our ways of living by examination of their nocturnal and temporal dimensions.
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Contributor : Luc Gwiazdzinski <>
Submitted on : Sunday, February 11, 2018 - 10:26:47 AM
Last modification on : Tuesday, April 2, 2019 - 2:04:04 AM


  • HAL Id : halshs-01706307, version 1



Luc Gwiazdzinski, Will Straw. Nights and Mountains . France. Revue de Géographie Alpine / Journal of Alpine Research, 2017. ⟨halshs-01706307⟩



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