A philosophical debate on a text analogy approach to landscape interpretation in English-speaking countries

Satoshi Imazato

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


This review article reexamines theoretical problems in studies on landscape-as-text, which is one of the most important topics in recent human geography. This paper first investigates the perspectives and background thoughts of the poststructuralist landscape-as-text school existing in English-speaking countries since the mid-1980s. The second point under examination is a philosophical debate on landscape-as-text between poststructuralists and Marxists. Third, comparing theoretical problems in the debate, the paper discusses French-speaking countries' and Japanese contributions to the landscape-as-text approach to give a new perspective on landscape interpretation. The concluding remarks in the review are summarized as follows. It is essential to make ontologic distinctions among semiotic concepts such as landscape as a built environment and representation of a landscape, as well as materiality of a landscape-as-text and ideas embodied in a landscape. We should examine the difference in the spatial units of the text as well as its elements among each social actor within and outside the landscape. It is also useful to consider that each social actor is simultaneously cognizant of some different semiotic structure of the landscape in their political-economic and social-historical contexts. Furthermore, it is advisable to acquire comparable data on the textual characteristics and conditions of each landscape in different regions, periods, scales, and types.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)483-502
Number of pages20
JournalGeographical Review of Japan
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2004
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Earth-Surface Processes


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