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moral landscapes

  The association of particular landscapes with schemes of moral value (see also moral geographies). Tuan (1989) reviews the wide-ranging historical and geographical association of particular moral values with the landscapes of city, country and garden. A moral-spatial dialectic may also be identified whereby moral landscapes both reflect and reproduce senses of moral order. Work has focused on such processes in the geography of institutions, in the use of architecture and landscape design to promote particular moral principles, and in the production of consciously \'alternative\' social spaces.

The institution as moral landscape is considered in Ploszajska\'s (1994) work on the Victorian reformatory school as an \'environment of moral reform\'. Such moral landscapes are one element of a growing geographical interest in relations of space and power, whereby spatial organization is shown to be not only reflective of but central to the workings of power. Daniels\' (1982) study of the \'morality of landscape\' in the work of Georgian landscape gardener Humphry Repton shows how aesthetic values of landscape design were at the same time moral values concerning social harmony, plebeian deference and aristocratic responsibility. The theme of moral landscapes thereby connects to aesthetic, social, political and economic issues, indeed all of those categories are shown to be mutually constitutive.

Studies of moral landscapes may also address the ways in which moral value is located in particular environments. Associations of morality and nature, whereby moral order may be equated with a sense of natural order, serve to enable particular groups or individuals to claim a moral landscape close to nature, as in Bell\'s contemporary study of the southern English village of \'Childerley\' (Bell, 1994). Locating the moral in the natural is a common trope of certain forms of environmentalism, which cultivate an ecological morality or environmental ethic around an assumed moral community of the human and non-human. Such work differs from much of the work discussed above (see also moral geographies) in operating with a strongly normative sense of morality. A normative use of the term moral landscape is also found in Ley\'s (1993) work on cooperative housing in Canada, presented as embodying moral principles of community and individuality through an oppositional postmodern architectural style. Such work asserts a particular landscape as an embodiment of what is moral. One could suggest that a converse normative geography runs through Cresswell\'s (1996) studies of the \'heretical geography\' embodied in the self-consciously alternative landscapes of hippy convoys, peace camps, and graffiti artists, where landscapes labelled by others as immoral are upheld as pointers towards the production of alternative social space. (DM)

References Bell, M. 1994: Childerley: nature and morality in a country village. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Cresswell, T. 1996: In place/out of place: geography, ideology and transgression. Minneapolis and London: University of Minnesota Press. Daniels, S. 1982: Humphry Repton and the morality of landscape. In J. Gold and J. Burgess, eds, Valued environments. London: Allen and Unwin, 124-44. Ley, D. 1993: Co-operative housing as a moral landscape: re-examining the postmodern city. In J. Duncan and D. Ley, eds, Place/culture/representation. London: Routledge, 128-48. Ploszajska, T. 1994: Moral landscapes and manipulated spaces: gender, class and space in Victorian reformatory schools. Journal of Historical Geography 20: 413-29. Tuan, Y.-F. 1989: Morality and imagination: paradoxes of progress. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press.



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