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Geographies of embodied outdoor experience and the arrival of the patio heater

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Machines that provide people with nearby sources of outdoor warmth have become increasingly popular in the UK as a crop of mushroom-shaped technologies has started to spring up outside many public houses and private homes in this country. Yet this development has also received considerable condemnation from advocates of sustainable consumption, who have seemingly been disgusted by the societal self-indulgence that they see in these devices. Moving away from these more immediate forms of outrage, this paper enriches our understanding of their arrival by considering these heaters in terms of cultural conventions of thermal adaptation and the changing geographies that can be attached to them. Through these means, it is argued that a more nuanced understanding of why these technologies have become prevalent is produced and that an existing disciplinary interest in embodied outdoor experience is taken towards some important new spaces for study.

Keywords: Britain; adaptation; bodies; outdoors; patio heaters

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Department of Geography, University of Hull, Hull HU6 7RX, Email:

Publication date: September 1, 2007

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