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3.3 Place and landscape

Edward Relph (1976: 30) asserts that place has a physical form, i.e. landscape. 'Landscape' is often understood as a 'panoramic view', or a 'scenery'. It is something perceived by seeing. Concepts of 'soundscape' and 'smellscape'--just to mention two--are developed to refer to analoguous phenomena perceived by other senses. Anyhow, landscape is always a kind of 'sensescape'.

Some contemporary geographers see the conception of landscape as something external to the perceiver as the traditional concept of landscape. This is manifested in a pejorative manner meaning that the traditional use of the concept is something outmoded and naive and it should be replaced with a new one. Petri J. Raivo (1996: viii), for instance, says that 'the traditional concept of the cultural landscape as an areal container of visible cultural elements is exchanged for the concept of the cultural landscape as an intersubjective mental construction consisting of meanings and symbols which express the individual, communal and social values of a particular culture.' Thus, what Raivo suggests is a kind of 'way of seeing'. 'Landscape', or 'cultural landscape', is therefore a subjective and intersubjective interpretation of environment and dependent on the meanings and values of a particular culture (Raivo 1996: 24).

In this study I prefer taking a more traditional stance towards the concept of 'landscape'. Reducing 'landscape' to an interpretation is a categorical confusion since the interpretation of landscape is not landscape. As Martin Heidegger (1985: 35) says, it is not the case 'that in representing the representations get represented' but the things. In this case, landscape is the 'thing'.

Edward S. Casey (1993: 24) points out the fact that unlike places landscapes are seldom named. He compares that to the fact that one does not name one's body even though one has a name for oneself. Casey ends up in a conclusion that body and landscape are the boundaries of place: body is the inner boundary and landscape is the outer one. 'Place is what takes place between body and landscape' (Casey 1993: 29). This takes us back to the dictionary entry of place: 'A particular point on the earth's surface' (Mayhew 1997: 327). The 'point' of place is the body, and what makes the place particular is that it is my body that is in the place.

According to Relph (1976: 31), what makes the experience of place different from that of landscape is the concept of 'time' and the act of memory associated with the former. Landscape can undergo significant changes but the place stays constant. Casey's analogy about oneself and one's body is revealing in this context, too.



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