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Where settlements and the landscape merge: towards an integrated approach to the spatial dimension of social relations

Abstract

The separation between ‘settlement’ and ‘landscape’ is deeply entrenched in European thought and also in the worldview of many agrarian societies. In anthropology this is reflected in the distinct development of an anthropology of landscape on the one hand and an anthropology of built forms. The comparative use of permeability maps is introduced in this chapter as a promising route towards cross-fertilisation between these two hitherto separate bodies of theory and data. Permeability, the ways in which space allows or prevents humans from passing through places, is particularly relevant for our understanding of the fuzzy zone where settlements and the landscape merge. More generally, permeability maps help us to explore a more dynamic view of the relationship between spatial and social relations because they allow us to consider what one may call the ‘social agency of space’. The case material presented in this chapter was collected in the course of field research with ≠ Akhoe Hai//om ‘San’ or ‘Bushmen’ and their neighbours in northern Namibia but an explicit comparative perspective is taken that leads beyond this region.

Bibliography

2009. "Where settlements and the landscape merge: towards an integrated approach to the spatial dimension of social relations." In: Michael Bollig and Olaf Bubenzer (eds.) African Landscapes. Interdisciplinary Approaches. New York: Springer, pp. 407-427.

Authors Widlok, Thomas
Type inbook
Title Where settlements and the landscape merge: towards an integrated approach to the spatial dimension of social relations
Citation 2009. "Where settlements and the landscape merge: towards an integrated approach to the spatial dimension of social relations." In: Michael Bollig and Olaf Bubenzer (eds.) African Landscapes. Interdisciplinary Approaches. New York: Springer, pp. 407-427.
Booktitle African Landscapes. Interdisciplinary Approaches
URL https://www.researchgate.net/publication/226363216_Where_Settlements_and_the_Landscape_Merge
DOI 10.1007/978-0-387-78682-7_15
Year 2009
Pages 407-427
Editor Michael Bollig, Olaf Bubenzer
Publisher Springer
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