||A set of signifying practices commonly associated with the written page but over the past several decades increasingly broadened to include other types of cultural production such as landscapes, maps, paintings as well as economic, political and social institutions (Cosgrove and Daniels, 1988; Duncan and Duncan, 1988; Harley, 1991; Benko and Strohmayer, 1997; cf. art, geography and). Since the nineteenth century, textual analysis has been associated with the hermeneutic method of Wilhelm Dilthey and others. According to this method, an interpretation is produced which results from the interaction between the text being studied and the intellectual framework of the interpreter. Throughout the twentieth century, competing methods of textual analysis have been put forward such as structuralism, which would include semiotics, and post-structuralism, which includes discourse analysis and deconstruction. These textual methods of analysis, once largely confined to such fields as literature, religion, and history within the humanities, have diffused as part of the \'linguistic turn\' within the social sciences. An important consequence of this diffusion is that the humanities have become an important source of method and theory for the social sciences, and as a consequence the oft-noted divide between the social sciences and the humanities has become blurred.
Once the notion of text has been expanded to include types of cultural production other than writing then the assumption is made that these productions, whether they be landscapes or political institutions, have a text-like quality. There is also recent literature in critical cartography on maps as cultural texts (Harley, 1991; Jarvis, 1998). Ricoeur (1971) attempts to demonstrate that this assumption has merit by first posing two questions: is the model of the text a good paradigm for social science?, and is the textual method of interpretation relevant? He offers four reasons why the answer to both questions should be yes. First he argues that the principal characteristics of written discourse also describe social life. For example, as meaning in written discourse is concretized through inscription, so recurrent behaviour in the built environment becomes concretized. Second, just as within written works an author\'s intentions and the reception of the text often fail to coincide, so institutionalized patterns of action are frequently detached from their collective agents. Third, as written texts are reinterpreted in the light of changing circumstances, similarly social events are subject to continual reinterpretation. Fourth, while the meaning of a text is unstable due to its dependence upon the interpretations of its different readers, so social action and institutions are open to a range of interpretations.
It is probably within anthropology that we find the most developed notion of social action as text. Geertz (1973, 1988) was the first anthropologist to systematically develop the notion that culture is a text. He interprets culture as a text to be read by an ethnographer as one might read written material. He further argues that it is not simply ethnographers who read cultures, rather such reading is practised by all those who live within a culture. Hermeneutic and post-structural notions of text have served to problematize the notion of representation in ethnography and geography ( Marcus and Fischer, 1986; Pred, 1990; Barnes and Duncan, 1991). There are important epistemological and ethical issues surrounding the notion of representation. One is the question of the translatability of cultural difference and another is the question of the morality of speaking for others (Spivak, 1988; Duncan and Sharp, 1993; McEwan, 1998). Some of the closest readings of texts in the recent geographical literature occur in the study of travel writing and in particular the gendered nature of travel writing. Blunt and Rose (1994) and McEwan (1998) argue against essentialist notions of women\'s travel writing (see travel writing, geography and).
There is an ongoing debate in geography about the nature and usefulness of the text metaphor. Some have argued that it leads to idealism and away from concerns with the material world (Mitchell, 1995). Others have argued that written texts and other cultural productions with text-like qualities such as landscapes are material realities and that it is unnecessary and unhelpful to separate texts (or even ideas and discourses) from other aspects of reality (Duncan and Duncan, 1996; Schein, 1997).
Another concept of importance is intertextuality, the textual context of a literary work. Tyler (1987) has argued that although most empirical work is portrayed as objectivist it can be better described as intertextual, that is, mediated by a traditional corpus of monographs and theories. Furthermore, it is not simply academic accounts of the world which are intertextual; the world itself is intertextual. places are intertextual sites because texts and discursive practices based upon texts are (re)inscribed in social practices, institutions and landscapes (Duncan, 1990; Duncan and Duncan, 1997).Â (JSD)
References Barnes, T. and Duncan, J., eds, 1991: Writing worlds: discourse, text and metaphor in the representation of landscape. London: Routledge.Â Blunt, A. and Rose, G., eds, 1994: Writing women, writing space: colonial and post colonial geographies. New York: Guilford.Â Benko, G. and Strohmayer, U., eds, 1997: Space and social theory. London: Blackwell.Â Cosgrove, D. and Daniels, S., eds, 1988: The iconography of landscape: essays on the symbolic representation, design and use of past environments. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Â Duncan, J. 1990: The city as text: the politics of landscape interpretation in the Kandyan kingdom. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Â Duncan, J. and Duncan, N. 1988: (Re)reading the landscape. Environment and Planning D: Society and Space 6: 117-2 6.Â Duncan, J. and Duncan, N. 1997: Deep suburban irony. In R. Silverstone, ed., Visions of suburbia. London: Routledge.Â Duncan, J. and Duncan, N. 1996: Reconceptualizing the concept of culture in geography. Transactions, Institute of British Geographers NS 21: 572-82.Â Duncan, N. and Sharp, J. 1993: Confronting (re)presentations. Environment and Planning D: Society and Space 11: 473-86.Â Geertz, C. 1973: The interpretation of cultures. New York: Basic Books.Â Geertz, C. 1988: Works and lives: the anthropologist as author. Cambridge: Polity Press.Â Harley, B. 1991: Deconstructing the map. In T. Barnes and J. Duncan, eds, Writing worlds: discourse, text and metaphor in the representation of landscape. London: Routledge, 231-4 7.Â Jarvis, B. 1998: Postmodern cartographies. London: Pluto Press.Â Marcus, G.E. and Fischer, M.M.J. 1986: Anthropology as cultural critique: an experimental moment in the human sciences. Chicago: Chicago University Press.Â McEwan, C. 1998: Cutting power lines within the palace: countering paternity and eurocentricism in the geographical tradition. Transactions, Institute of British Geographers NS 23: 371-8 4.Â Mitchell, D. 1995: There\'s no such thing as culture. Transactions, Institute of British Geographers NS 20: 102-16.Â Pred, A. 1990: Lost words and lost worlds: modernity and the language of everyday life in late nineteenth century Sweden. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Â Ricoeur, P. 1971: The model of the text: meaningful action considered as text. Social Research 38: 529-62.Â Schein, R. 1997: The place of landscape. Annals of the Association of American Geographers 87: 660-80.Â Spivak, G. 1988: Can the Subaltern Speak? In C. Nelson and L. Grossberg, eds, Marxism and the interpretation of culture. London: Macmillan.Â Tyler, S. 1987: The unspeakable: discourse, dialogue and rhetoric in the postmodern world. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press.
Suggested Reading Barnes and Duncan (1991).Â Blunt and Rose (1994).Â Duncan (1990).Â Ricoeur (1971).Â Schein (1997).