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  The existence of relatively homogeneous and standardized landscapes which diminish the local specificity and variety of places that characterized pre-industrial societies. In the 1970s this term was associated with humanistic geography, particularly the work of Relph (1976) who, drawing upon Heidegger (1962), argues that in the modern world, the loss of place diversity is symptomatic of a larger loss of meaning — the \'authentic\' attitude which characterized pre-industrial and handicraft cultures and produces the \'sense of place\' that some claim has now been largely lost and replaced with an \'inauthentic\' attitude. Relph offers as examples of placelessness and the \'inauthentic\' attitude which produces them: tourist landscapes, commercial strips, New Towns and suburbs and the international style in architecture. Entrikin (1991) pointed out that while some meanings are indeed lost when places become increasingly homogenized, others are gained. To speak solely of loss, therefore, is to adopt the values of conservationists and preservationists who seek to preserve cultural artefacts and places.

With the influence of postmodernism in geography during the 1980s and 1990s, authenticity came to be considered a highly problematic concept. Soja (1996), Duncan and Duncan (1992) and other geographers, who were influenced by the writings of French thinkers such as Baudrillard and Barthes, began to take a more critical and sociological approach to the notion of authentic places. Rather than offering expert judgements about landscapes according to such criteria as placelessness, inauthenticity or authenticity, they began to critique popular versions of these notions.

Interest in postmodernity as an era, however, has led geographers to focus on globalization and time-space compression. While some assume that globalization has homogenizing effects, reducing the particularity of places and increasing placelessness, others point to its uneven effects across the globe and the defensive reaction which seeks to maintain or recover place differences. Massey (1997) however, argues that the notion of sense of place (as needing a single, essentialized identity) is reactionary and that the persistent identification of place with community is a mistaken romanticism. Any single location can be many very different places to different types of people. The notion of a sense of place or of placelessness has to be rethought in light of highly complex constellations of social relations linking a place to other places beyond that produce a highly particularized, but nevertheless global, sense of the local. (JSD)

References Duncan, J. and Duncan, N. 1992: Ideology and bliss: Roland Barthes and the secret histories of landscape. In T. Barnes and J. Duncan, eds, Writing worlds: discourse, text and metaphor in the representation of landscape. London: Routledge. Entrikin, J.N. 1991: The betweenness of place: towards a geography of modernity. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Press. Heidegger, M. 1962: Being and time. New York: Harper and Row. Massey, D. 1997: A global sense of place. In T. Barnes and D. Gregory, eds, Reading human geography: the poetics and politics of inquiry. London: Arnold. Relph, E. 1976: Place and placelessness. London: Pion. Soja, E. 1996: Thirdspace: journeys to Los Angeles and other real-and-imagined places. Cambridge, MA: Blackwell.

Suggested Reading Porteous, J.D. 1988: Topicide: the annihilation of place. In J. Eyles and D.M. Smith, eds, Qualitative methods in human geography. Cambridge: Polity, 75-93. Seamon, D. and Mugerauer, R., eds, 1985: Dwelling, place and environment: towards a phenomenology of person and world. Dordrecht: Martinus Nijhoff.



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