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date: 25 May 2022

Abstract and Keywords

This article explores the idea of cultural landscapes. The term ‘cultural landscape’ is widely recognized as a description of a region of the earth that has been transformed by human action. This article explores the history of the idea of cultural landscapes, focusing on two dichotomies. The first is the dichotomy between materiality and symbolism; from highly material beginnings in the early twentieth century, the second is the dichotomy between nature and culture, concepts treated as oppositional for much of this history. It then examines some of the geographic differences, with particular attention to Australian and Scandinavian examples. The next section explores what happens when the cultural landscape idea itself becomes materialized, in the form of land and heritage management frameworks. The final section presents a recent critique of the cultural landscape concept and asks whether it is possible to go beyond the dichotomies, and whether the concept retains any usefulness.

Keywords: landscapes, cultural landscapes, materiality, symbolism, nature, culture

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