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Reconceptualizing Senses of Place: Social Relations, Ideology and Ecology

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The purpose of this paper is to reconceptualize sense of place through the examination, re-analysis and theorization of two case studies, one of an ex-urban community in England, the other a Himalayan farming and herding community. The paper begins by examining the traditional locus of sense of place research in humanistic geography with extensions to political geography and interpretive anthropology. Identifying three core components—social, ideological and ecological—of senses of place, the paper goes on to reconceptualize these elements using Habermas's theory of communicative action and Ingold's work on environmental psychology. It then applies this reconceptualization to the case studies of Towcester and Shimshal. The paper concludes by emphasizing the ways these cases enrich our understanding of sense of place, by stressing the theoretical contributions of conceiving sense of place as rooted in theories of social organization and society, and as being variably and contingently ecologically emplaced.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Geography, Brock University, St. Catharines, ON L2S 3A1, Canada, 2: Department of Geography, McMaster University, Hamilton, ON L8S 4K1, Canada

Publication date: April 1, 1997

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