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Franco Bianchini

Abstract

This volume brings together a collection of essays, most of which were presented at the ‘Urban Mindscapes of Europe’ conference at De Montfort University in Leicester on 29 April 2004. At the centre of the volume is an encounter between explorations of urban mindscapes, and their application to urban policy generally, and more specifically to city marketing and tourism promotion. This introductory essay provides an overview of the concepts of ‘urban mindscape’ and ‘urban imaginary’, and of a selection of key themes emerging from the contributions to the book. It ends with a discussion of a range of issues for further research and for policy-making.

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Timothy Mason

I will examine the region around Alice Springs as it appears in the writings of Frank Gillen (in his letters to Baldwin Spencer), and in his joint writing with Spencer (the ethnological texts). In the texts we catch glimpses of three modes of landscape: that of the invaders, farmers and pastoralists, that of their scientific comrades, the biologists, geographers and ethnologists, and that of those whose land they have appropriated — the Arrernte. Three ways of dreaming a landscape, three ways of living one.

For the pastoralists, the landscape is seen in terms of property and profitability: the one goes with the other, and it is their capacity to make a profit from the land that gives them their right to occupy and own it. Consequently, the landscape is also a well-policed area, in which the unprofitable is tracked and hunted down. For the scientists, the landscape is a patrimony, a shaft which permits them to delve into the beginnings of our time and follow the course that takes us to the present. The ethnologists discover that their project necessarily entails a consideration of the third landscape, that of the Arrernte themselves.

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Edited by Godela Weiss-Sussex and Franco Bianchini

Urban mindscapes are structures of thinking about a city, built on conceptualisations of the city’s physical landscape as well as on its image as transported through cultural representation, memory and imagination.
This book pursues three main strands of inquiry in its exploration of these ‘landscapes of the mind’ in a European context. The first strand concerns the theory and methodology of researching urban mindscapes and urban ‘imaginaries’. The second strand investigates some of the representations, symbols and collective images that feed into our understanding of European cities. It discusses representations of the city in literature, film, television and other cultural forms, which, in James Donald’s phrase, constitute ‘archives of urban images’. The third and last section of the volume concentrates on the relationship between the collective mindscapes of cities, urban policy and the practice of city marketing.