Repairing the damage: water and its role in post-mining landscape
Hana Dankova (Institute of Sociology, Czech Academy of Sciences)
Paper short abstract:
This paper explores narratives about "peripheral repairing" by means of land rehabilitation in the post-industrial, post-mining region of the North Bohemian Basin, Czech Republic.
Paper long abstract:
This paper explores narratives about "peripheral repairing" by means of land rehabilitation in the post-industrial and post-mining region of the North Bohemian Basin, Czech Republic. Drawing on textual representations by official and semi-official bodies from the post-socialist period, the paper identifies key features and images/ideas of the newly emerging landscape and its role in creating a new identity of the region. Based on readings of textual representation (methodologically informed by discourse analysis, see Wodak 2001) the paper shows how ideas of land rehabilitation in this region draw on imaginaries about its historically rooted 'natural' substance, referring to its historical backgrounds. The main element that plays a key role in 'inventing' the new identity of the region is water, referring to former existence of small water bodies in the region until the 19th century. The role of water in the newly emerging image of the region is its capacity for reconciliation by smoothing the mined-out surface of the local landscape. By bringing the post-mining region back to the state of natural order, the previous period of socialist 'disorder' is to be effaced. In the process of 'repairing' entirely new identities are emerging and so is the narrative about a future lake landscape or "Czech Finland". I argue, that we witness a construction of both the past and future in an effort at accounting for the creation of a new landscape -- one that is at the same discursively referred to the past and likened to an aesthetically pleasing landscape-to-be in the future.
Repairing the periphery