The City as Text: The Politics of Landscape Interpretation in the Kandyan Kingdom

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Cambridge University Press, 2005 - Social Science - 244 pages
In this book James Duncan convincingly argues that landscapes are not only culturally produced, but that they also influence governing ideas of political and religious life. He analyzes this dialectic relationship between landscape and the pursuit of power in the royal capital of Kandy in the central highlands of Sri Lanka during the early years of the nineteenth century and demonstrates how the Kandyan landscape was consciously produced to further the perceived interests of the Kandyan kings. Using extensive archival sources, architectural analysis and mapping, the author reveals how the landscape was designed to foster a certain hegemonic reading that spoke of the power, benevolence and legitimacy of the kings in their capital.
 

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Contents

Introduction
3
TOWARDS AN INTERPRETIVE FRAME
9
Landscape as a signifying system
11
The discursive field of Kandyan kingship
25
Concretizing the Sakran discourse from landscape of the gods to landscapes of the herokings
42
The Kandyan Landscape 13121815
59
THE POLITICS OF LANDSCAPE INTERPRETATION IN EARLYNINETEENTHCENTURY KANDY
85
From discourse to landscape a kingly reading
87
From landscape to civic ritual a kingly reading
119
From landscape to discourse contestatory readings and material interests
154
Conclusion
181
Appendix
185
Notes
194
List of references
206
Index
226
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