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Editors: Claval, Paul
Pagnini, Maria Paola
Scaini, Maurizio
Issue Date: 19-Jul-2006
Journal: Proceedings of the Conference THE CULTURAL TURN IN GEOGRAPHY, 18-20th of September 2003 - Gorizia Campus
Part II: Landscape Construction and Cultural Identity
There is no room, here, to evoke the vicissitudes that the concept of landscape has passed
through from the Nineteen century, when the diptych of the ambiguous terms Naturlandschaft
and Kulturlandschaft debuted in German geography, to the Vidalian concept, arisen in the
French geography during the early Twentieth century, to come to the approaches to some
extent inspired to the general system-based epistemology, which were designed during the
1970s. What is worth mentioning here is that this evolution has been marked by two options:
on the one hand, the option of considering the landscape from rationalism-inspired
perspectives, which have led to design it as consisting of sets of tangible, essentially
geological and geomorphologic, features inter-linked by cause-effect relationships; on the
other hand, the option of considering the landscape as a set of symbols and values attributed
by human communities to nature and to human prints in the Earth surface, therefore leaving
rationalism in the background and focusing on cultural, essentially intellectual and spiritualist,
manifestations. Till the 1970s the history of geography had been marked by many phases
during which the former, rationalism-consistent, approach prevailed, and a phase, influenced
by the approach from Vidal de la Blache, during which the prospect of placing human culture
at the core of the consideration arose. Nevertheless, these options didnít acquire so clear
features till the 1980s, when the positivism-and general system theory-inspired approaches,
presenting the landscape as the result of geosystems and ecocomplexes, were rejected by the
so-called humanistic geography, supporting views tailored to represent the landscape as a sort
of a theatre where the existential conditions are performed.
Letís compare these two perspectives, as they arose during the 1980s, by carrying out a
landscape discourse encompassing (i) the object of representation, which may be called the
referent according to the semiotic language, (ii) the representation itself, which consists of
what is called the sign in semiotic terms, and (iii) the values attributed to the landscape
features, which may be assimilated to what, sensu lato, is regarded as the signified by
Type: Proceedings
ISBN: 88-8303-180-6
Rights: © Copyright 2003 Edizioni Università di Trieste - EUT
Appears in Collections:The cultural turn in geography

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