More-than-representational landscapes

Authored by: Emma Waterton

The Routledge Companion to Landscape Studies

Print publication date:  August  2018
Online publication date:  September  2018

Print ISBN: 9781138720312
eBook ISBN: 9781315195063
Adobe ISBN:


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Landscape research has seen a burgeoning of interest in notions of ‘affect’, ‘doing’, ‘performance’ and ‘practice’ in the past decade or so. Although these notions can be parcelled together in a variety of ways, in this chapter I want to situate them within the range of work dealing with what has come to be termed more-than-representational theories (Lorimer 2005). As a style of thinking, more-than-representational theories emerged in the mid-1990s in response to the ‘mesmerized attention’ given to texts and images, which, as Nigel Thrift (2000: 380) argued, had occluded ‘a lot of the little things’. Originally termed ‘non-representational theory’ (and still referred to as such by a number of scholars) or ‘the theory of practices’, more-than-representational thinking is today associated primarily with the fields of cultural and political geography, and the work of Ben Anderson, John-David Dewsbury, Paul Harrison, Hayden Lorimer, Derek McComack and John Wylie, all of whom, like Thrift, are geographers based in UK universities. Many have connections to the University of Bristol’s School of Geographical Sciences (Cresswell 2012), where non-representational theory first emerged. Although it is an approach with a particularly strong UK adherence, it has been applied in geographical contexts that range from Britain to Denmark, Canada, Hong Kong, Argentina, Hungary, the United States and Australia, to name a few.

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