Thinking Through Landscape

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Nuestra actitud hacia la naturaleza ha cambiado con el tiempo. Este libro explora los orgenes histricos, literarios y filosficos de los cambios en nuestra actitud ante la naturaleza que permitieron a las catstrofes ambientales que sucedan. Se presenta una reflexin filosfica sobre la actitud de las sociedades humanas "para el medio ambiente, informada por la historia del concepto de paisaje y el papel desempeado por el concepto de la naturaleza en la imaginacin humana y cuenta con una gran cantidad de ejemplos de todo el mundo para ayudar a entender el crisis ambiental contempornea en el contexto tanto del entorno construido y natural. Pensando a travs del paisaje localiza el comienzo de este cambio en el trabajo humano y las elites urbanas estar separados de la naturaleza. Naturaleza se convirti en una construccin imaginaria que enmascara nuestra interaccin real con el mundo natural. El libro sostiene que esto dio lugar a una apreciacin terica y literaria del paisaje a costa de un compromiso efectivo y prctico con la naturaleza. Se basa en la ontologa heideggeriana y la sociologa de Veblen, proporcionando una poderosa distincin entre dos actitudes ante paisaje: el conocimiento tcito de los pueblos anteriores participado en la creacin del paisaje a travs de su trabajo - "pensamiento paisajismo" - y las explcitas actitudes tericas y estticas de los ciudadanos modernos amantes de la naturaleza, mientras que la pertenencia a una civilizacin que destruye el paisaje -. "pensamiento paisaje" Este libro ofrece una revisin crtica del pensamiento y la teora del paisaje para los estudiantes, investigadores y cualquier persona interesada en relacin con las sociedades humanas 'a la naturaleza en el campo de estudios de paisaje, filosofa ambiental, la geografa cultural y la historia ambiental.


  • Thinking through Landscape

    Our attitude to nature has changed over time. This book explores thehistorical, literary and philosophical origins of the changes in ourattitude to nature that have allowed environmental catastrophes to happen. It presents a philosophical reection on human societies attitude to the environment, informed by the history of the conceptof landscape and the role played by the concept of nature in thehuman imagination, and it features a wealth of examples from around the world to help explain the contemporary environmentalcrisis in the context of both the built and natural environment.

    Thinking through Landscape locates the start of this change inhuman labour and urban elites being cut off from nature. Nature became an imaginary construct masking our real interaction with thenatural world. The book argues that this gave rise to a theoreticaland literary appreciation of landscape at the expense of an effective practical engagement with nature. It draws on Heideggerian ontologyand Veblens sociology, providing a powerful distinction betweentwo attitudes to landscape: the tacit knowledge of earlier peoplesengaged in creating the landscape through their work landscapingthought; and the explicit theoretical and aesthetic attitudes of modern city dwellers who love nature while belonging to a civiliza-tion that destroys the landscape landscape thinking.

    The book gives a critical survey of landscape thought and theoryfor students, researchers and anyone interested in human societies relation to nature in the elds of landscape studies, environmental philosophy, cultural geography and environmental history.

    Augustin Berque is director of studies in environmental philosophy and geography at the cole des hautes tudes en sciences sociales, Paris, France.

  • This work presents a distinctive, creative, and striking interpretation of the meaning of landscape and ways of thinking about landscape. It makes a very important contributionto contemporary theoretical debates through its project of overcoming dualistic cat-egories and showing how the dialectic between culture and nature is expressed in land-scapist thought. It is an important attempt to establish a middle way between extremes of social constructivism and naturalistic reductionism. Specialists in a number of elds,including environmental philosophy, environmental studies, landscape studies, and cul-tural history, as well as anyone who has interest in these areas, will welcome its publica-tion in English.

    John P. Clark, Gregory Curtin Distinguished Professor of Humane Studies and theProfessions, Loyola University, USA

    This is a book that needs to be read and reected on by everyone concerned with theworld we live in, in every sense of world and every sense of live. Based on an under-standing of the ancient and modern environmental histories of China, Japan, and Europe,and the authors early personal experience of growing up in the simpler world of themountains of North Africa, it points gently and learnedlyto the underlying causes that drain psychological and spiritual satisfaction from existence in the modern world.

    Mark Elvin, Australian National University and St Antonys College,Oxford University, UK

    In a series of groundbreaking books, Augustin Berque has deeply inuenced our percep-tion of what a landscape is, what it is not and what it should be. Rather than taking the too common approach of qualifying any subjective perception of a place, or any trace left by human activities upon the environment, as landscape, he has rigorously pinpointedthe conditions under which the landscape as a reexive object can emerge. But the present book goes a step further by exploring why civilizations who have not elaborateda theory of landscape have developed instead a way of thinking through landscape whichhas allowed them to bequeath us physical settings of enduring beauty. For all those who care about the kind of environment they live in, this is compulsory reading.

    Philippe Descola, Collge de France

    With his compelling indictment of the urban leisure classs landscape aesthetics as pre-cursor to environmental destruction and to a modern culture of unsustainability, Berqueinvites us to overcome nature/culture dichotomies and subject/object dualism. His phe-nomenological insights and European and Asian scholarship will appeal especially to thereaders of David Abram.

    Dr Sacha Kagan, Research Associate at Leuphana University Lueneburg, Germany

    Thinking through Landscape is a milestone in the comparative imagination of nature. Ranging widely across cultures and histories it offers insight into how human culturesacross the world have come to see, imagine, represent and think through landscapes. This then sets the backdrop for an investigation into the way modernity has disrupted land-scapes physically and guratively, depriving humans of the life milieu that mediatesbetween bodies and worlds. Excellently translated into clear English, this book bringsour gaze back to the landscapes that surround us, and helps explain how and why wehave come to overlook them.

    James Miller, Associate Professor of Chinese Studies, Queens University, Canada

    How is it possible for us to get rid of devastated landscapes, products of the age of the death of the landscape, so as to return to the primordial landscape thinking practiced in silence? In presence of this aporia, Augustin Berque, French geographer and philosopher, urges us to overcome the dualism by opening the middle way between subject and object that the modern alternative has so severely separated, convincing that all depends on this change of viewpoint. This English edition will be protable not only for specialists of various elds of environment, but also for those who have any interest in the destiny of the modern world.

    Kioka Nobuo, Professor of Philosophy and Ethics, Kansai University, Japan

  • Thinking through Landscape

    Augustin Berque

    Translated by Anne-Marie Feenberg-Dibon

  • First edition of La pense paysagre published 2008by Bookstorming

    This edition published 2013by Routledge2 Park Square, Milton Park, Abingdon, Oxon OX14 4RN

    Simultaneously published in the USA and Canadaby Routledge711 Third Avenue, New York, NY 10017

    Routledge is an imprint of the Taylor & Francis Group, an informa business

    2013 Augustin Berque

    The right of Augustin Berque to be identied as author of this work has been asserted by him in accordance with sections 77 and 78 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988.

    All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reprinted or reproduced or utilised in any form or by any electronic,mechanical, or other means, now known or hereafter invented, including photocopying and recording, or in anyinformation storage or retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publishers.

    Trademark notice: Product or corporate names may be trademarks or registered trademarks, and are used only foridentication and explanation without intent to infringe.

    British Library Cataloguing in Publication DataA catalogue record for this book is available from the BritishLibrary

    Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication DataBerque, Augustin.[Pense paysagre. English]Thinking through landscape / Augustin Berque ; translated byAnne-Marie Feenberg-Dibon.

    pages cm1. Landscapes. 2. Nature (Aesthetics) I. Feenberg-Dibon,Anne-Marie, 1943- II. Berque, Augustin. Pense paysagre.Translation of: III. Title. BH301.L3B4713 2013111'.85dc23 2012045223

    ISBN: 978-0-415-82115-5 (hbk)ISBN: 978-0-415-82116-2 (pbk)ISBN: 978-0-203-56850-7 (ebk)

    Typeset in Sabonby Wearset Ltd, Boldon, Tyne and Wear

  • Contents

    List of illustrations vii

    1 The waves of history 1

    1 Landscape and thought 12 The landscape without landscape architects 43 The waves of history 6

    2 The earth, acting spontaneously 14

    1 The almond tree, barley and the olive tree 142 Earthly leisure 163 The countryside and the obscure female 18

    3 The third day of the third month 23

    1 The cave with the goat-foot 232 The descent of the Tichka 263 The witnesses to the birth of the landscape 30

    4 They do not know how to look 34

    1 Lunch on the asqqif 342 The quest for authenticity 363 Xie Lingyuns principle 40

    5 While having substance, it tends toward the spirit 43

    1 The principle of Zong Bing 432 Down with harmony! 463 Modern de-cosmization 48

  • vi Contents

    6 An obscure thing before it is said 53

    1 The earth as starting point 532 The profound meaning of the landscape 563 There is our authenticity 59

    Codicil: for those who would want to overcome modernity 64Landscape and reality 64

    Notes 69Bibliography 70Index of people 74Index of places 76Index of terms 78

  • Illustrations


    1.1 The waves of history 62.1 The edge of the Seksawa world 142.2 Going through the valley 193.1 Anthwerrke Gap 263.2 What is perceived in the Aboriginal world 283.3 Hina ningy 334.1 View from the asqqif 344.2 Washing at the At Mhand 354.3 Hermitage in the Rikugien, Tokyo 375.1 View from the footbridge 496.1 The geo-cosmology of the Seksawa 536.2 The house with the SUV 616.3 Evening sun on the Waffagga 63


    6.1 The ontological scale of reality 57


    1 Panorama of Zinit 82 Rural home of Tigemmi y-Iggiz 93 The Seksawa home 104 Women 115 Chiefs 12

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  • 1 The waves of history

    1 Landscape and thought

    Do landscape and thought stand in opposition to each other? Nor-mally, the landscape is outside, in front of me or around me, whilethought is inside, somewhere behind my forehead. There seems to be a boundary between them. It is difcult to say exactly where th