GEOG 210 Lecture Notes - Lecture 6: Uluru, Identity Component

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7 Feb 2013
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Lecture 6: Identity from Landscapes 1/29/13 8:33 AM
Reading: Knox et al, Chapter 5, entire chapter
Identity as a pretty changeable thing.
Hierarchy of Identity
o Family
o Religion
o Ethnicity
o Geography
o Work Group
o Socio Economic Class
o Country ?? Depending on what country you are from
! Ex. Afghanistan " nothing to hold together in terms of
o Etc…
This order can change depending on who you are and where you
What you are going to do in terms of behaviour and thoughts
depends on where you place your identity
“The assertion of a person’s identity is intended to give meaning to an
encounter with others.” –Ibrahim, 1998 (will see on exam)
Processes of Identity and Landscapes
1. Landscape as contested terrain.
2. Landscape as learning.
3. Landscape as language.
Process-Landscape as Contested Terrain
Landscape provides the raw material for ideas and images of territorial
places and identities
Be they empires
Or localities
And these landscapes have been culturally reproduces (encourages and
Raw materials: what the land has originally, the rocks, the ground, the
weather, etc…
People inscribe identity to a landscape by moving around on it, becoming
attached to the land. This process takes a lot of time. Landscape becomes a
historical archive. The landscape tells a story. People interact with landscape
and produce a place. A place is something that people interact with and have
an attachment to. A space is just the ground.
The end product of these cultural processes are diverse, they are landscapes
Honour and virtue
Bountiful resources
Future wealth
Landscapes of distinction (purposefully different from other
Other nations and regions have different landscapes and, by implication,
different identities. It is the people/land interaction over time that create
Such landscapes have been used and abused for the purposes of power and
For the conscious or unconscious construction of belonging and
o Balkan Wars
o Strong connection to homeland, and that place is under threat
And for the production and formatting of citizens and their self-
understanding as a people
Different processes work to describe and re-describe landscapes in the
shaping of national and regional images and identities.
The Netherlands and Windmills
Some landscapes are more highly valued than others for their role in identity
How this ‘valuing’ occurs gives important clues to the understanding
of nations and regions.
For example: Canada
o Wildness: unpolluted, deeply embedded
2. Process: Landscape as Learning
We learn (from: school, family, friends, folklore) how national landscapes
are determined by:
Events, memories
Often connected to:
o Royalty
o Nobility
o Elite Presence
o War
o Or to significant turning points in the memory of the nation
Some places are produced internationally by tourist in the sense that they
are known almost universally and serve as objects of pilgrimage.
Their careers as places have been possible through an international set of:
Popular Culture
Depending on who and where you are
A national level landscape works in a similar way, although it may not be
well known outside a particular country.
A person who has not been a member of the national cultural learning
process or exposed to the articulation of the mental landscape of his/her
community, will not know these places and concepts.
3. Process: Landscape as Language
The process of articulation of territory.
Ex. Uluru (Ayers Rock), the famous stone formation in the interior
of Australia
o The reason that Uluru is famous is that it is covered by ‘text’,
or ‘language’
o Other areas around the rock are less significant
The landscape says something. What it says is different to different people.
At Uluru there is a story of:
Aboriginal cult and religion
Geological features
The quest across the continent in the pervious century
There is also a story of:
A tourist industry
What these over-layered historical and commercial processes have produced
is the readable ‘language’ of the places
In principle, this process could be repeated anywhere.