Jess Edwards, Fellow of the Institute of Place Management, is Head of the Department of English at Manchester Metropolitan University. His research, since his Phd in the 1990s, has consistently focused on the literary aspects of geography and the geographic aspects of literature. Until 2014 his publications dealt with seventeenth and eighteenth century geographic culture, but recently he has begun a project exploring the place of literature, culture and public participation in landscape policy and strategy. Edwards is part of a local research group of creative writers and critics at Manchester Met with an interest in place, which supports an MA course route in Place Writing and a growing number of Postgraduate Research students in the area. Continue reading “Meet the IPM: Interview with Dr Jess Edwards”
by Ares Kalandides*
Place is an important category in the construction of our individual and social identities. We develop a sense of place both by projecting ourselves onto places and identifying with them in myriad ways. We may, for example, use place names to identify ourselves (“I live in Berlin”, “I am from Greece”); we may be more or less attached to particular places, as they become markers of who we are (“I am a new Berliner”).
By Place, I do not only mean the “bricks and mortar” of a locality, but rather the interaction between the physicality and the social relations that come together in a particular locus. Place attachment then is with people and their cultures, with their food, language and behaviour – as much as with public spaces, landscapes or buildings. It is easier to feel responsible for a place we are attached to, rather than for places we just pass through in the course of our lives. Tourists often behave differently at home than when they travel, although place attachment and responsibility may not be the only reason behind it (throwing away behavioural norms as part of the travel experience or the relative anonymity and lack of social control may be other explanations).
“It is easier to feel responsible for a place we are attached to, rather than for places we just pass through in the course of our lives.”
In a world where many people (though by no means all) move constantly, is there still such a thing as place responsibility and indeed the space for place-based politics? Or as Doreen Massey put it back in 1991, is there a “global sense of place”? Continue reading “An Itinerant Sense of Place”