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The body, the gaze and the theorist: remarks on a strategic distinction


Lossau, Julia


Bitte beziehen Sie sich beim Zitieren dieses Dokumentes immer auf folgenden Persistent Identifier (PID):http://nbn-resolving.de/urn:nbn:de:0168-ssoar-232288

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Abstract While emotions have become a relevant, even fashionable topic in Anglo-American geography in recent years, German-speaking scholars are more reluctant to take on board the lessons of emotional and sensual perception. This reluctance became especially obvious in 2001, when the German-speaking realm witnessed an unusually fierce debate over the value of the aesthetic for the discipline’s system of thought. While the protagonists of emotional and aesthetic thinking celebrated an increasing significance of the ‘softer’ and more bodily aspects of knowledge, the antagonists criticized what they regard as a return to the traditional paradigm of Landschaftsgeographie and its conservative ideology. While fully sympathetic to the critique of an allegedly aesthetic ‘geomantic geography’, this paper demonstrates that considering questions of aesthetics does not necessarily imply a revitalization of ancient paradigms, but can lead instead to a challenging of formerly taken-for-granted epistemological foundations. To achieve this goal, this paper summarizes the German debate, highlighting the antagonists’ distinction between a cognitive and scientific realm, on the one hand, and an aesthetic, pre-scientific or everyday realm, on the other. The deconstruction of this distinction leads to a more complex notion of the relations between aesthetic and cognitive spheres, or between the body and the gaze. The acknowledgement of this complexity can, in turn, be regarded as a point of departure for ways of thinking between the body and the gaze. Broadening the perspective towards such an in-between point of view does not only reveal certain absences within the dominant approaches to German-speaking geography, but provides a critical appraisal of some lines of argument within the Anglo-American preoccupation with the emotions.
Sprache Dokument Englisch
Publikationsjahr 2005
Seitenangabe S. 59-76
Zeitschriftentitel Cultural Geographies, 12 (2005) 1
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1191/1474474005eu314oa
Status Postprint; begutachtet (peer reviewed)
Lizenz PEER Licence Agreement (applicable only to documents from PEER project)