The Hutsuls in South Bukovina: from Rural Tradition to Sustainable Development

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Abstract

The Hutsuls, an ethnic group belonging to the Bukovina’s agro-forestry and pastoral area, still preserve ancient folk traditions which generate friendly practices and attitudes towards the environment. Globalisation and modernisation have brought about changes in the local rural traditions which, on the one hand, threaten their singularity, and on the other hand, set the stage for a new start. The paper aims to analysethe perception of the Bukovina’s communities on the tradition-sustainable development relations considered from a double perspective: the Hutsuls’ traditions and the evolution of the group itself under changes in Romania in the last 25 years.

Consequently, our approach has sought to make a correlation between the information collected from the scientific literature, the answers given in a field survey and the opinions expressed in the media concerning this subject. The results of the study have shown that both the occupations and the traditions of the Hutsul ethnics, as well as their spiritual and cultural life, are strongly linked to the natural elements of the environment which the Hutsuls consider to be the basic resources for their existence. However, given that nowadays young people migrate abroad, the community’s perception is indicative of a particular concern to do with the viability of this ethnic group; that is, the human right to turn to modernisation and the efficiency of multicultural policies application in Romania. The study is hence useful from several points of view: it can disseminate information on a national level concerning this little-known ethnicity; it can promote the role of the ethnic groups in reaching the local objectives of sustainable development; and it can supply the authorities with the necessary information for taking the right decissions, be they political, cultural, economic or demographic.

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