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Title: Exposures : exploring selves and landscapes in the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone
Author: Rush-Cooper, Nicholas
ISNI:       0000 0004 2751 2014
Awarding Body: Durham University
Current Institution: Durham University
Date of Award: 2013
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This thesis contributes to understandings of tourism and landscape by detailing how embodied tourist subjects are active producers of knowledge and place, rather than passive consumers. However tourists are not understood as the sole producers and this thesis details a world of active agencies in negotiation and mutual re-configuration. It is based upon an ethnographic study through participant observation of 25 day-trip tours to the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone in Ukraine. The participant observation was undertaken as researcher, visitor and tour guide and offers a range of perspectives and accounts. The thesis offers an account of embodied subjectivity and landscape as mutually implicated and in a co-becoming, but a mutuality that is fraught, negotiated and uncertain rather than a given vitality. The thesis is presented as five 'cuts' through this ethnographic material, each broaching specific theoretical and empirical concerns. First, the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone is argued to be a site of post-apocalypse in a manner which re-purposes a post-apocalyptic imaginary as a salient political narrative that holds a fidelity to events, pasts and futures and in contrast to Hollywood spectacle and certain climate change prophecies. Secondly the thesis examines practices of meaning-making in the ruins of Pripyat, drawing on theories that highlight material, embodied practices of making-sense through encounters with vestiges of other lives. Thirdly it presents a post-phenomenological account of embodied subjectivity. Merleau-Ponty's philosophy of the flesh is examined and, through the work of Luce Irigaray, a re conceptualisation is presented that asserts a necessary passivity of exposure as the predicate for all action and that offers a radical account of the reversibility of the flesh that de-centres the embodied subject. Fourthly the map that accompanies this thesis is presented as a means of examining networks of negotiation with the resistant, wilful, trickster agencies of radiation. Drawing on the work of Bruno Latour and Donna Haraway the thesis focuses on the Geiger counter as a key mediator in practices which assert a topographical account of networked practices in contrast to topological accounts associated with actor-network theory. Finally, the thesis offers a conception of difference and boundary-making practices as performative re-configurations where difference is understood not only as produced, rather than given through a priori assumptions of bodily and worldly boundaries, but also as actively productive. The thesis contributes to debates on subjectivity, landscape and knowledge production.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available