Wilderness as Sacred Space
Association of American Geographers, 1976 - Conservation of natural resources - 124 pages
This study examines the basic ideas of the wilderness ethic and analyzes their role in giving form and definition to human encounters with nature. There are four chapters in the study. Chapter I "Sacred Space and Geopiety" uses concepts derived from phenomenology of religion to consider the wilderness ethic as a belief system and wilderness purists as a community of believers. This section attempts to define key terms, to establish the nature and characteristics of sacred space, to describe the fundamental assumptions about man/environment relations which underlie the wilderness ethic, and to sketch the social characteristics of the community of Wilderness purists. Chapter II "Object and Subject in Reciprocal Relation: Inward Action" considers the process by which individual experience is generalized to a group mode of perception by means of the development and dissemination of wilderness imagery. Verbal and visual images lend significant form to individual feelings and help define the wilderness experience as an event central to one's inner life. Chapter III "Object and Subject in Reciprocal Relation: Outward Action" discusses the political implications of inward action. Individual behavior in wilderness and group political action on behalf of preservationist goals are shown to be dependent on wilderness imagery for conceptual definition and for public visibility. Chapter IV presents a summary and conclusions, in the form of six themes which characterize the wilderness preservation movement as a belief system and as a political program. (Author/RM)
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