Skip to main content
Article thumbnail
Location of Repository

Landscape's ocular centrism - and beyond?

By Hannah Macpherson


For many academics and policy makers the concept of landscape is associated with ‘land as it is seen’. In this paper I consider some of the literature which traces this\ud association of landscape with the sense of sight. I focus on the suggestion that notions and concepts related to landscape are symptomatic of a pervasive ‘ocular-centrism’\ud within western thought. I then highlight the ocular-centric approach to landscape which permeates much of the landscape and environmental-perception literature. \ud Concerns are raised that the ocular-centric legacy of landscape may occlude alternative aspects of how the land is sensed and interacted with. I therefore proceed to explore research which addresses the ‘non-visual’ embodied aspects of our interactions with the land. It seems that sight isn’t necessarily the primary medium through which we come to know and organize our understandings of the land. In\ud particular I address the potential of recent attempts to re-conceptualize landscape as an ‘interaction’ or as ‘a moment in a process’ and in doing so question to what extent\ud it is possible to move beyond landscape’s ocular-centrism

Topics: L700 Human and Social Geography
Publisher: Springer; Kluwer Academic
Year: 2005
OAI identifier:
Download PDF:
Sorry, we are unable to provide the full text but you may find it at the following location(s):
  • (external link)
  • (external link)
  • (external link)
  • Suggested articles


    1. (2001). An ethnography of a neighbourhood café: informality, table arrangements and background noise.
    2. (2002). Assessing public perception of landscape: the landmap experience.
    3. (2001). Assessment of path choices on a country walk using a virtual environment. Landscape and Urban Planning,
    4. (1998). Back to the future, back to basics: the social ecology of landscapes and the future of landscape planning. Landscape and Urban Planning,
    5. (2000). Bodies in the woods.
    6. (2000). Bodies of nature: introduction.
    7. (1994). Downcast eyes: the denigration of vision in twentieth-century french thought.
    8. (2001). Dwelling, place and landscape: an orchard in Somerset.
    9. (1973). Environment and cognition.
    10. (1993). Fields of vision.
    11. (2004). Geographies of responsibility.
    12. (2003). Geographies of vision and modernity: things seen in the Scottish Highlands.
    13. (1988). Introduction: iconography and landscape.
    14. (1998). Landscape and Englishness. Biddles Ltd.,
    15. (2002). Landscape and labyrinths.
    16. (2002). Landscape and the European sense of sight: eyeing nature.
    17. (2002). Landscape, nature, and the body politic: from Britain's renaissance to America's new world.
    18. (1990). Landscapes of the mind: worlds of sense and metaphor.
    19. (2001). Living in Wythenshawe.
    20. (2000). Museums and the visually impaired: the spatial politics of acess.
    21. (2000). Performativity in practice: some recent work in cultural geography.
    22. (2003). Performing facts: finding a way over Scotland's mountains.
    23. (1962). Phenomenology of perception.
    24. (1998). Places through the body.
    25. (1999). Recovering landscape: essays in contemporary landscape architecture.
    26. (1996). Recovering the substantive nature of landscape.
    27. (2003). Research, performance, and doing human geography: some reflections on the diary-photograph, diary-interview method. Environment and Planning
    28. (2003). Sensual relations: engaging the senses in cultural and social theory.
    29. (1994). Sensuous geographies: body, sense, and place.
    30. (2003). Sounds of two landscape settings: auditory concepts for physical planning and design.
    31. (1991). The aesthetics of landscape.
    32. (2003). The body and social theory. 2nd edn. Sage publications, Thousand Oaks.
    33. (2000). The climbing body, nature and the experience of modernity.
    34. (2000). The dictionary of human geography. 4th edn.
    35. (1986). The ecological approach to visual perception. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates,
    36. (1975). The experience of landscape.
    37. (1989). The experience of nature: a psychological perspective.
    38. (2001). The invention of the countryside: hunting, walking, and ecology
    39. (1939). The nature of geography.
    40. (2000). The perception of the environment: essays on livelihood, dwelling and skill.
    41. (1997). The place of landscape: a conceptual famework for interpreting an American scene.
    42. (1984). The practice of everyday life.
    43. (2000). These boots are made for walking.: mundane technology, the body and human-environment relations.
    44. (2001). Visualism and landscape: looking and seeing in Normandy.
    45. (2000). Walking in the British countryside, reflexivity, embodied practices and ways to escape.

    To submit an update or takedown request for this paper, please submit an Update/Correction/Removal Request.