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Title: Hidden meanings of Sheffield's river landscapes : an exploration of how phenomenological philosophy can provide a basis for understanding landscape meaning in landscape architecture theory and contribute to the use and development of the concept of dwelling in landscape practice and research
Author: Barker, Ruth Mary
ISNI:       0000 0004 2672 9107
Awarding Body: University of Sheffield
Current Institution: University of Sheffield
Date of Award: 2009
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This thesis combines the study of a philosophical approach to landscape with an exploration of experience in landscape. It explores the perspective of phenomenology, in particular that defined by Merleau-Ponty, as an approach to understanding relationships with landscapes. This unveils meanings and values in landscapes hidden by other approaches, and suggests how an understanding of dialogue, time and embodiment, with, in and within landscape, can improve and enhance landscape architecture theory and practice. A critique is offered of the ways Enlightenment thinking and its dualisms have influenced approaches in the Landscape discipline, in particular the attitude of the master, the disembodied visual, and the predominance of spatial dimensions. Through an extensive literature review these effects are studied in relation to three problematic themes in Landscape- Nature, Beauty and Time. These related to a phenomenological perspective suggest new approaches to landscape, based on human embodiment, practiced in the concept of Dwelling. Dwelling is defined as a process of immersion and not separation from a position in landscape situated in space and time; it leads to engagement with nature which ultimately leads to care - Heidegger's "concernful dealing with the world". The possibilities for dwelling, or for "Being in the landscape", are explored in four research projects in Sheffield's river landscapes, adopting a methodology drawn from phenomenology. Experience is revealed in moving through the landscape, and sensing with more than one sense together; the subjective view of the researcher is tempered with the subjectivity of others, to produce an intersubjectivity. Stories, the recounting of interpreted events, is a way people express meaning and value, tell of attachment and belonging to landscape, and show freedom from controlling influences and structures. Following concluding assessments of the research and methodology, the study points to ways its findings may redirect and strengthen landscape theory and practice towards an attitude and practice of dwelling.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available