Rural landscape quality : the general and the particular
This is a theoretical dissertation built on the premise that different people appreciate landscape in different ways. It takes a multidisciplinary approach, and links findings made in several fields so as to attempt understanding of the phenomenon of rural landscape quality. A range of relatively modern explanations of the nature of landscape quality is examined and criticised primarily on the grounds of a tendency to confuse the abstract and uniform with the concrete and variable, that is, a failure to separate the general from the particular. A means of making this separation is then proposed and pursued for the remainder of the thesis. Discussion centres upon the activity of perceiving landscape. What does it involve? At the most abstract there are the structures of the senses and cognition inherited genetically and, with minor variations, common to all who perceive. At the most concrete there are the circumstances surrounding each individual engaged in the actual instant of perception. Between these two is the role played by the culture of the individual concerned. This thesis is slightly unusual in laying stress on the importance of the cultural inheritance as a factor contributing to differentiation and constant change in rural landscape quality. No firm conclusions are reached in what is essentially a work of experiment and speculation.