Aitchison, C., Macleod, N., and Shaw, S. (2000). Leisure and tourism landscapes: social and cultural geographies, London: Routledge
Chapter 5 representing landscapes
The notion of landscape implies human use. Images of them have long been merged with commodification and various forms of artistic representation, and with tourism, right from the Romantic period where paintings inspired a search for the actual location, to the present day where films do the same.
Why are some landscapes so appealing? The notion of landscape aesthetics sees beauty in nature, a view which starts with Burke. For him, the sublime suggested fear and pain, the beautiful pleasure and society -- hence mountains represent the former, and farmscapes the latter. The valuing of nature as against society appeared in Rousseau. Gilpin has defined the picturesque as involving scenes which evoke an emotional response. The term also mean 'as in a picture', which leads to examining how the framing concentrates the viewer's gaze. The sublime is out of the frame, overwhelming. The Romantic movement split with conventions of rationality leading to a search for the natural, and involving anti-industrialisation. There was a middle-class audience for romantic poets, seeing the wilderness as offering healing and spirituality. This led to demand for a similar visual style in paintings, and thence to actual visits. The work also indicates the beginnings of sociological analyses of tastes.
There are clear links between the landscape as an aesthetic object and the emergence of industrialism. The land became a commodity which can therefore be valorised as some kind of 'countryside ideal' (76). There was always an ideological or imagined relationship between humans and the landscape, possibly drawing on collective memories, or ancient longings for shelter and adventure. Imagination has always been important, and Hickeys shaped by both society and culture. Stances available range from stewardship to exploitation of the landscape as a form of visual consumption. The role of art has been very important in these conceptions, even for artists. Literature and poetry have also helped, for example in popularising the Lake District. Tourism was quick to borrow these texts and literary associations, for example 'In the 1890s there were coach tours to Constable Country' (79). Now television programmes are perhaps the most important.
The Highlands of Scotland show the effects. They are a cultural construct, complete with their well-known lichens, such as tartan, heather and so on. They are associated with national myths and identity. These meanings arise from the influence of familiar forms of representation. The Highlands were formerly seen as barbaric and hostile, as in the views of the Battle of Culloden. The Napoleonic wars closed off the rest of Europe, leading to the first forms of domestic tourism of Scotland. The picturesque was dominant, as defined above. Romance became invented as an aspect of the moors, which were formerly seen as dismal and gloomy. Highlanders became noble savages instead of savages, 'a shred of living heritage' (81), as in the cult of Ossian.
Ossian was actually a literary hoax, based on fragments of ancient Gaelic poetry published in the 18th century. It became very popular, and evoked a past of chivalry and 'primitive mobility' (82). The search for the actual locations ensued, following vague descriptions in the text. There was even an early Ossian theme park on the Duke of Atholl's Estate (82). The Ossian poems helped the tourists view the landscape and the Highlander more favourably, although the latter had long been exiled in reality.
The post-Culloden land enclosures led to a landscape of 'empty glens' (84). Highland symbols were adopted by lowlanders, especially Highland dress. Walter Scott popularised Highland Scotland, as did Wordsworth. The Highlander became exotic, enigmatic. Scott's Lady of the Lake became an example of the whole Scottish World, set in a 'landscape with romantic characters' (86). His works were geographically accurate or realistic. Sometimes they seemed intended to explain Scottish traditions to English incomers. They had a substantial effect on tourism. Turner was also commissioned to paint Highland scenes, while Scott's novels were incorporated into operas and plays, including works by Rossini and Verdi.
Travel was difficult and dangerous before 1700, but grew throughout the 19th century via steamers and railways. Cook began excursions and 1846, and their promotions used literary allusions. Queen Victoria herself was influential and built Balmoral as a rural home. Landseer was commissioned for royal portraits, and his famous pictures of the glens led to an early literary landscape -- 'Royal Deerside' (88).
Overall, literature and art has been very important in guiding interpretations of the landscape. Scottish literature in particular has been deliberately used to restore a sense of national identity -- and promote tourism. Representations are more diverse now, but romantic myths are still important, and tourists still search for 'associations with Bonnie Prince Charlie and Alan Breck' (89). Modern tourists may be unaware of the importance of these past literary associations. Films are notoriously artificial in geographical terms, with Brigadoon shot in Hollywood, and Braveheart in Ireland. TV series like Dr Finlay, Take the High Road, and films like Rob Roy use standard iconography. Now, Braveheart trails are a major tourist attraction, and have led to theming -- for example, the Scottish Tourist Board actively promotes the Braveheart myth.
There have been some contradictions, for example in seeing the Highlands as both ripe for development and traditional or feudal. There is a split to between the lowlands and the Highlands, the cities and the rural areas, in some of which Gaelic persists. Images are popular with the Scottish diaspora, and it is useful commercially to have a distinctive brand.
[No adverse or negative representations of Scotland? Reactions to Scottish nationalism? Glasgow's slums and football hooliganism?]
Chapter 6 heritage landscapes
The concept of heritage changes according to different generations. There is always a problem of choice, especially in multicultural societies, where is important to avoid disenfranchisement for minorities. There are also substantial political uses for heritage landscapes, not least of which in providing patriotic imagery for politicians' speeches. Heritage offers of popularised history, a commodity form [as Hewison and others have argued]. However, all history is selective.
The first generation of critics (including Hewison) saw heritage as a nostalgic cover for the new industrialism. Later theorists like Urry placed more emphasis on the knowing visitor, and the considerable diversity apparent in the heritage industry. More recent focuses include management and cultural tourism. Heritage can be seen as a result of the general aestheticization of life, the postmodern collapse of culture and commerce. New electronic technology has had an impact on the museum, for example, leading to changes in museum practice which strips away aura, replaces context, emphasizes neglected stories, encourages audience participation, and generally takes a more populist view (98 - 9). There were antecedents in the very early folk museums and open-air museums as well.
Heritage landscapes include heritage coasts. These are obviously cultural landscapes, however. Indications of the politics of heritage can be found in recent attempts to get World Heritage Site status for locations such as the British Lake District -- apparently, one issue is whether Wordsworth is a world poet. Rural landscapes are important for town-dwellers and are seen as offering something timeless and untouched. Interest has clearly been affected by concerns for preservation, especially where the landscape is an important context for ancient buildings, as in the following examples:
(a) Stonehenge. Here, there are contested histories, and lots of literary references, which are constantly up for reinterpretation. There is a sanctioned history too, but clear signs of alternative uses for example at the summer solstice, and contests station was clearly apparent at the 1985 Battle of the Beanfield [a police riot where a travellers' convoy was attacked in the middle of a moral panic]. The site still offers a challenge to represent the necessary 'multi - vocality' (104).
(b) Avebury. This is a large prehistoric landscape which has been integrated into much later settlement, including the modern village of Avebury. It offers relics of the Iron Age, and the Saxons, and features a twelfth-century church. The modern village is undergoing some expansion. The side may have been constructed by Druids, it is also associated with Arthur and the Earth Goddess. Avebury has an official guide, but also attracts a lot of casual visitors too. A current controversy is to whether to clear it of population.
(c) Tintagel. This might be an Arthurian Castle. Preservation is a complex matter, involving the role of local businesses, since Arthur is the main commercial link. There is official scepticism about Arthur, and English Heritage refuses to include Arthurian associations. However, tourists are awash in Arthurian references, and perhaps he should be acknowledged. There are also strong beliefs in the site as a focus of mysterious forces and other kinds of myths, and perhaps these should be acknowledged as well?
As these examples show, heritage is still an important issue. It is often criticised as unrepresentative, but it is also a notion that helps contestation, and is therefore anti-elitist. There are special problems with conserving landscapes which change a lot, and the contemporary relevance of heritage sites is still controversial.
Chapter 7 gendered landscapes
There has been a recent development of 'spatialized feminism' (110). The spatial dimension of power relations include studies of the differential 'power and domination of landscapes' (111), and the geographical mapping of inequalities. The study still draws on the unitary concept of the feminine, however, a '"add women and stir" method' (112) [see Aitchison]. The perspective adds to the historically dominant functionalist nature of leisure research, here. Run into liberal socialist approaches, and then eventually post structuralist ones. These are often focused on case studies such as the female bingo player, or women in Milton Keynes.
The spatial dimension emerges in the examples of the use of public and private space. Differences in social class and family circumstances also lead to a new awareness of heterogeneity [there are some useful policy implications on 115]. Classic examples like Green et al drew attention to the social processes affecting women's access to leisure -- it was liberal in terms of its recommendations, but also discussed the effects of the labour market and outlined a dual system approach [a combination of capitalism and patriarchy]. Much early feminism over-emphasised the labour process and the role of class, however, again following the dominant concerns of leisure studies of the time, including its 'normative citizenship paradigm' (117). The new awareness of the pleasures of leisure led to the discovery of new gendered constraints:
(a) Gendered space. This follows the emphasis in the 'posts' on difference, the challenges to unitary categories, and the awareness of local specificities. There may be a denial of any overall mechanisms of power. Rojek's work on leisure and the context of everyday culture pointed to a crisis for specifically feminist leisure research, and Scraton has also commented on the apolitical nature of post structuralist analyses of consumption (119). More generally, Foucault is recognised as ambiguous as a source for feminism. Aitchison has made her own contribution here. Taking seriously issues raised by postmodernism and diversity has led to a new examination of 'private' lives. A multi-disciplinary approach is essential to uncover the complexity of power relations. Wearing has also helped the emphasis of feminist work shift from an analysis of patriarchy to an analysis of phallocentrism (120), and Butler has done much to challenge 'compulsory heterosexuality'and its binary categories (120).
(b) Anti-dualism. Male domination has led to characteristic segregations of time and space, and leisure and paid work for that matter. Parker (in Clarke, A and Bacon, B. (1988) Leisure Theory: Four Perspectives) has amended his work to include exploitation, and Roberts has also rethought the notion of work and other variables. There's been an influence on Community Studies as well. Clarke and Critcher's work has restored the work leisure split, however. Conventional splits underemphasise the importance of the informal and the everyday, and value the socially approved rather than the deviant forms of leisure. Sex and gender have been described in terms of another controversial dualism, one rooted in the difference between female bodies and male minds, in particular. Butler has done much to criticise the quest for some foundational concept of gender, and pursue instead a kind of genealogy (122). Feminist geography has also undermined binary categories such as culture and nature, rural and urban, and has attempted to explore the connections between these two in the context of the general issue of the construction of Otherness.
(c) The gendered Other. Binary categories showed the deep epistemological and philosophical dimensions to the project of constructing Others. Cixous's work has been important here in showing the links between same/other distinctions and power and gender differences (some good references here, 123]. Tourism can also be seen as a quest for the Other or the true self, and it involves well-known paradoxes such as 'seeking the inauthentic Other in the quest for the authentic Self' (124). Tourism also requires a certain identification with the location, often in the form of 'exoticism, eroticism, naturalism, and militarism' (124) as in the notion of Orientalism. A great deal of feminist writing on tourism tends to be ignored, including 'postcolonial feminist theory' (124), which offered a critical engagement with dominant discourses rather than a binary opposition. This work offered a globalised perspective to replace the dominance of white European women; it challenged masculine assumptions and postcolonial theory; it offered some 'useful theory in its own right, such as that of Spivak on language and discourse and its connection with power. Tourist destinations were seen as constructed through a discourse on the foreign or the exotic, with natives as Other, and locations as spaces on which to make a mark. The residues of colonialism can still be seen in the cultural capital of the tourist (125).
(d) Globalization melts boundaries, but gender is still a very important signifier, for example in the creation of the exotic. Tourism is still heavily sex segregated and sex stereotyped. For writers such as Wearing, tourists and natives should be seen mutually interpenetrating [in reality and as categories]. Feminist travel writing is seen as liminal, offering a partial escape from gender. Females still worry about safety and have to manage it, and writes particularly well about the notion of 'safe space', which can include hiding their deviant sexual identity (127). Gender relations are often exported from home. Much tourist practice ignores this gender dimension though - for example heritage tourism often simply blanks out women.
(e) Gender and heritage. There has been much discussion on the activities of the heritage industry and the construction of literary landscapes. These are invariably gendered, however, although this is still largely unacknowledged. For example, the history of [the Scottish city of] Stirling features strong masculine heroes such as Braveheart and Rob Roy, and militarism and nationalism. These values are often displayed in landmarks and monuments, as well as in the promotional literature. The marketing of Stirling was designed to encourage longer stays, and features concepts such as Rob Roy's Stirling, historic Stirling, links with Robert the Bruce and Wallace, the Stuarts, the Argyll and Sutherland Regiment and so on. It seems designed to attract young male tourists especially. The geology of Stirling is used to explain why it became such an important crossroads and battle site. The demise of the coalfield was the major impulse for this sort of tourism. The resulting conceptions of heritage are produced by an 'alliance between the green movement and the middle classes' (131). The themes are picked up by lots of statues and special locations, such as 'Braveheart Country', and by the renaming of houses and hotels after such prominent local males. Women are 'invisibilised' (132). This is a feature ignored even by Hewison, who misses the role of 'hegemonic masculinism as a dominant power-broker in the reproduction and interpretation of heritage' (133) -- there may well be a theoretical flaw in humanist marxism revealed in this insufficient attention to patriarchy. Heritage often involves an armed challenge 'masculinist myth making' (134).
Chapter 8 urban landscapes
These are varied according to ages and types of building, and there are different forms of attachment to them by long and short term residents, or visitors. Conflicts are common, for example between land developers and preservationists. There have been a number of efforts to develop heritage and city promotion, for example in the Urban Task Force, 1999. These involve clear problems of both staging and managing the past. The illusions of cities often conceal real inequalities. So what guides an excessive orientation to the past? Why retrophilia?
City landscapes reflect the early efforts of dilettantes who discovered antiquities and took on landowners. This led to a replication especially of Gothic styles and urban regeneration programmes, sometimes as the recreation of the past of better times. Restoration opposed the commercialism of the industrial age, and revealed the recovery of religious values, and organic qualities, the pursuit of truth and naturalistic settings. There are clear links with both Ruskin's and Morris's critique of capitalism, although both of these were future-oriented. Victorian politicians tended to use medieval forms 'to legitimate the quest for hegemony' (140), for example St Pancras Station. This took a more organised form in the last half the 19th century, with the formation of various preservation societies and the move to photograph sites before redevelopment. Eventually, legislation arose, listing sites of historical significance and placing preservation orders on them. Various public and voluntary bodies, especially the National Trust became prominent, and there was also the Garden City movement from 1898, influenced by the Arts and Crafts movement.
However, there were strong trends towards a clean break and the development of a new social modernist order, as with the rise of le Corbusier (although he also wanted to preserve a few historical buildings). These modernist tendencies were criticised because the personal meanings of residents were destroyed, as were collective memories. However, the rise of mortgages empowered middle-class suburbanites.
Domestic tourism grew with visits to old cities. This was connected with the growth of leisure motoring and the publication of guide books like the Batsford Heritage Series. Individuals like Betjeman were very influential. Town and Country Planning grew in the 1930s and led to considerable local authority powers, although these were mediated by a certain reluctance to interfere with development, which in turn led to the growth of local pressure groups. Luftwaffe raids led to a series of new lists and an interest in post-War planning and development guidelines. Post-War planning led to a loss of 'disappointing debased versions of modernist ideals' too (145). These were criticised and led to a turn away from master plans towards the vernacular, and the celebration of the new rather than a return to older fantasies.
In more recent times, there has been a broadened notion of urban conservation, and a new role for specialist interest groups [some of them listed on 147f] including the Civic Trust. There were new building technologies too. Local opposition arose towards a proposal such as the relocation of Covent Garden, which led in turn to a bitter dispute about redevelopment and the emergence of conservation plans instead. Lots of other local action groups emerged as well. Nostalgia rapidly became commercialised as in the many buildings with postmodern characters. Market forces in terms of the activities of National Heritage and the realisation of commercial potential were also powerful. Tourism became more dominant. Staged fronts rather than organic conservation emerged, as a form of Bowdlerism, a part of escape culture and nostalgia with links to New Right representations of the nation. Audience criticisms of these themings led to a new interest in genuine history and a demand for authenticity (152). However, business proved itself to be capable of providing histories as well as local communities. A tension emerged between visitors and residents. The mundane tended to be overlooked in favour of the spectacular, which had to be both permeable and legible (153).
As a case study, the City fringe in London, next to the Square Mile, was once a classic location for marginals such as migrants who set up spectacles such as fairs and theatres, which were banned in the City. A dense population soon grew up, famous for a concentration of dissenters and social conflict, and spectacular criminals such as Jack the Ripper. Lots of small industries were established by immigrants, first Jews, then Bengalis and Somalis, followed by a decline. Then there was a phase of redevelopment and finance capitalism. A number of struggles took place over conservation, for example of Spitalfields Market [and Canary Wharf and Docklands]. Gentrification took place. New occupational and residential uses emerged, housing people such as artists, or turning buildings into apartments. Residents were displaced, largely because few new jobs were available to the original residents (less than four per cent of new jobs -- 155). A New Partnership attempted to develop various cultural quarters, built around historical themes, and featuring leisure and tourism possibilities. Suggestions included designated names of areas, better transport, signage to rescue locations from obscurity, improved gateways, walking tours, improved streetscapes, and an attempt to attract various flagship buildings. The market was the mechanism to overcome social stereotypes and make people aware of heritage instead. There are clearly dangers of simplification, and a danger that the locals will become unpaid actors, exoticized.
The role of experts was crucial here, and these people, often self-appointed, were frequently based in voluntary societies. A popular reaction against modernism was powerful, and the issue became one of authenticity for the customer versus residents rights (158). Developers wanted to build more popular forms of consumption than museums, and created deliberate images to do so. Naturally, these were selective and left out the powerless. Commercialism was important in the 1980s and 90s, possibly less so now, given the increasing interest in social inclusion (170).
There is an interest now in spaces in cities, how they used and how for example they are sexualised. There is a lot of normal heterosexuality on display in conventional heritage sites, but now there is a new contestation and transgressions too. For example, there are now substantial urban gay quarters in many cities, and here sexuality has become a 'key spatial signifier' (162). The power of the pink pound has led to whole 'landscapes of lavender leisure' (162), although of course not all gays are wealthy. A consumerist ethos also grew leading to new demands. These included a right to public space, as in the visible gay scene in Soho.
Cities have long been associated with ambiguous identities. They do features stereotyped dualist divisions, as in the notion that city space is a safe only for men. Recent feminist attempts to obtain liberation, and the development of gay clusters in cities like Amsterdam have challenged these notions. Soho in London is no longer an ambiguous and marginal area. Gay areas are now tourist sites. If this is so, perhaps dilution has taken place? However, gay tourism is also a growth area, including Gay Pride festivals.
Lesbians have long been submerged in the category of 'women'. For example, hotels, pubs and clubs cater for 'women', both hetero and homo. However, there are signs of niche marketing towards lesbian women, with feminist businesses or accommodation (examples on page 167). Services include increased surveillance and chaperoning of business women, and the attempt to disentangle lesbians from the general purpose 'gay' holidays and accommodation. However, these activities are still underdeveloped and sometimes actively discouraged. Some services are available for women only, based on a guarantee of good service, no harassment, good transport, secure parking and so on. There is a danger that this may be too specialist. It clearly builds on a background of research on constraints on women's leisure, as in Deem. It is now recognised that there is a general need to provide a suitable space for sexual minorities.
This is a good overview of different ways of reading the landscape, according to different times and different technological developments, such as those of transport. the values of landscapes have also changed and the influence of media of various kinds has been crucial. Consumption patterns have led to the construction of heritage, but heritage remains polysemic and multi-vocal. Post-feminist geography has had a considerable impact, for example in the deconstruction of masculinist histories. The insights have recently been applied to understand cities. Post-feminist work deconstructs dualism such as self/other, production/consumption, inclusion/exclusion, and leads to concepts such as productive consumption as in deCerteau. These insights need to be incorporated into studies of leisure and tourism.