Le territoire narratif: proposition d’une expérience touristique innovante inspirée par l’itinérance

Ce texte est une note d’intention en vue d’une communication à la Deuxième Université Internationale d’Hiver, rédigée par Chiara Kirschner, Doctorante UMR Pacte-Territoires, Université Grenoble Alpes. Retravaillée, la communication finale sera diffusée à la suite de l’événement, complétée et affinée.


Dans la continuité de l’intervention à la précédente Université Internationale d’hiver (Kirschner, Le projet d’itinérance récréative en montagne : source d’inspiration pour l’innovation des territoires ?, 2014), on va préciser ici le concept de “territoire actif”, dans le sens d’un “territoire narratif”. Le territoire narratif est une idée d’animation territoriale qui établit une relation avec la trajectoire de vie de l’utilisateur. De cette manière, le développement des territoires de montagne est réalisé d’une manière pertinente pour les utilisateurs. En outre, cette idée d’animation implique la co-création, en ligne avec les dernières tendances de l’innovation.


In line with my paper for the previous International Winter University, this one aims at specifying the meaning of an “active territory” and at suggesting concrete solutions for territorial animations inspired by roaming andin connection with the life trajectory of the user. In this way, we help develop mountain territories in a way that is relevant for the users. Furthermore, these solutions happen to be co-creative, in line with the latest trends of innovation.

The research is based on a qualitative fieldwork consisting of observations, in-depth interviews, analysis of media and narrative production related to the roaming travel. It is developed through reciprocal fertilization of the concepts of anthropology – existential (Albert Piette) and ecological (Tom Ingold) – and the human and cultural geography (including namely the work of Berque). What was seen as a leisure practice – notably by the sportsnature.org team leaded by Jean Corneloup and Philippe Bourdeau -is now seen as an example of project management. Some practitioners employ a creativemethod,which allows a process of individuation. Within this framework, the form of the roaming travel itinerary (round-trip, loop, star, or weaving for the creative approach) is much more revealing than the specific practice (walking, cycling, skiing…) or its duration.

In the roaming space, materialized by the itinerary, there is an intersection with the individual life trajectory. Here comes the “active territory”: to understand it, we use the concept of transferential environment as developed by Denis Retaillé. This space – support for the process of individuation is also well translated by the concept of “prise” (grasp) as used by Olivier Sirost. The concept of “grasp” is borrowed from Berque, but the author here manages to make it real and charged with a constructive role within the framework of an individual action, sport. As evidenced by the stories of the roaming travelers I have interviewed, a narrative figurative structure supports the experience of the intersection between space and life trajectory. It is the hero’s journey and namely the epic, studied by the psychoanalyst Charles Baudoin (three to four steps) and the “outsider” Joseph Campbell (twelve steps). These two authors have inspired the work of Gilbert Durand, whose tradition of anthropology of the imaginary we ultimately follow and stretch to the domain of action. Again, only some travelers employed a creative method to pass from one step to the next one. They have been identified at first by their way to react to the unexpected – which is often the premise of the passage to the next step of the journey: they integrated it, instead of renouncing, forcing or simply adapting. A further analysis of them reveal a creative profile including cognitive and historical factors included in the creativity model of Teresa Amabile, plus some that we found out, such as fragmented past life trajectory, awareness of and priority of the connection (ie. effect on further life trajectory) on the objective of the journey (ie. final destination), approach of time as duration vslandmark.

Animating roaming territories thus mean build spaces that areresource for action, where the user traverses the places-steps of his epic. First of all, he will experience an impregnation of roaming, at least via the meeting with a mentor (one of the steps), or even via awareness of what, in his past life, consists of roaming (the “birth of the hero” step ). Then, he will choose its objective and its connection. There will be unexpected to handle with the choice between action strategies –and he will beed towards the adoption of an integration strategy. He will leave with a map on which it will have traced its itinerary using different tools, as a grid guide of his next trajectory of life. He will thus learn how to be creative, which is surely one quality human being have to have to deal with our complex world.

Illustration : Ymir Awakens Par Stef Lewandowski  (CC BY-NC 2.0) via Flickr https://flic.kr/p/3VB9u