W059
Landscapes for life: integrating experiential and political landscapes

Convenors:
Jo Vergunst (University of Aberdeen)
Nicolas Ellison (Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales, Paris/University of Aberdeen)
Location:
Victoria Harley
Start time:
20 September, 2006 at 11:30
Session slots:
4

Short abstract:

Can the idea of dwelling enhance understanding of the making of political and economic landscapes? Conversely, can the analysis of aestheticisation and commodification help us to understand the everyday experience of landscapes?

Long abstract:

We invite participants to discuss and integrate different ways of understanding landscape in anthropology. Landscape has often been seen as a category of experience that was exported from Europe to the rest of world, in particular as a notion of wilderness or as a painterly aesthetic. This has led, in part, to national parks, the conservation of nature and the patrimonialisation of the environment. New forms of landscape commodity emerge both in symbols and in the incorporation of the land within wider political and economic processes. But at the same time, landscape could still be seen as the site of dwelling for all peoples, the locale for the activities through which meaning is made in and of the world. Martin Heidegger, for example, suggested that landscape is the earth gathered together through dwelling. From a phenomenological perspective, landscape thus appears to be a much more universal category: a condition of being rather than a culturally and historically contingent notion. <br/>We seek contributions that address these aspects of landscape. Could the integration of the different perspectives help reduce the confusion in and between the terms landscape and environment? Are processes of commodity and aesthetics radically different to dwelling, or are they part of the variety of ways of experiencing landscape? Among the empirical and theoretical issues that could help address these questions are: The colonial history of landscape in Europe and the rest of the world; Case studies of the lived reality of landscape; Routes, boundaries, journeys; Dwelling in urban and industrial landscapes; Belonging in a landscape; Social relations and the body politic; Taking decisions about landscape in traditional and modern settings; Landscape aesthetics.