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4 Space, Knowledge and Creativity

4.1 From Space to Milieu

The relationships between space and creativity is an issue which has attracted renewed interest on the part of economists since about the late 80s,[1] following a long period of neglect after the seminal works of Marshall (1898, 1919) and Schumpeter (1934 [1911]; 1939).[2] Our opening rationale regarding this issue rests on the intriguing evidence that this resurgent interest replicates the two authors' different and also divergent views of it. At first glance the difference reflects a diverse (and from the Schumpeter standpoint, incompatible) notion of the role space plays within the process of innovation 'production' and diffusion. According to him, space is a mere facilitator of (or impediment to) the diffusion of innovation, with no bearing on the agents' aptitudes and propensities towards innovation. Marshall's work, on the other hand, implicitly suggests that space, while undeniably playing this passive role, also plays a part in shaping those aptitudes and propensities.

The difference actually involves deeper aspects than those referring to the role of space as regards innovativeness, including the ontological status of the notions of space and of knowledge themselves. Though without making explicit reference to the above scholars, Capello (2007) renders the difference by distinguishing between a “physical-metric” and a “relational” notion of space, to signify the opposition between an abstract, a-historical and neutral idea of the material dimension within which events necessarily take place and a historicised image of context-specific socio-spatial conditions, which are reputed to be conducive to particular economic outcomes (including a propensity towards innovation). The question thus remains whether space plays only the conventionally recognised functional role of making the 'production' and diffusion of innovation easier, or whether it also performs a generative role in enhancing (or hindering) creativeness.

The search for an answer entails recourse to a string of intermediate notions between 'space' and 'creativity', like knowledge, atmosphere, place, milieu, landscape. As discussed above, the first and inescapable notion coming into play in this connection is knowledge. While admitting that ideation stems from a re-combination of knowledge, a wholly different image of the relationships occurring within the space-knowledge-creativity triad stems from looking at the middle term from a purely informational-syntactic point of view, in the sense that knowledge is considered as processing information coming from the environment (L1), or according to a dialogical-pragmatic approach, in which knowledge equates to constructing information within a certain relational space (L2 and following levels).

In the first case, space only intervenes as a repository for informational spillovers and the channel through which they spread into the surroundings. Schumpeter's thought is very clear-cut on this point: while stating that space makes the diffusion of innovation possible, he resolutely contended that it can perform any other role; according to him, innovation essentially comes first and space only has an instrumental function (Schumpeter, 1939). While agreeing with this functional approach, however, neo-Schumpeterian scholars partake of a more “differentiated”[3] notion of space with respect to the quasi-Euclidean image the founder maintained. According to them, important agglomeration economies (of whose soundness Schumpeter was rather sceptical, except for scale economies) may stem from spatial proximity between firms, institutions and other public goods with reference to knowledge creation, storage, elaboration and diffusion (for example, Etzkowitz & Leydesdorff, 2000; Lundvall, 1992). A geography of innovation a` la Krugman (1979) thus becomes possible, owing to the variable thickness of informational spillovers in space, the working of self-reinforcing mechanisms between spillovers and innovation (Romer, 1986, 1990) and deliberate or fortuitous interaction between actors (Reich, 1992; Rogers, 1962). In any case, space, in their view, remains no more than the physical base on which those occurrences take place.

For their part, Alfred Marshall and his followers—who generally adhere to the regional science school—claim that space is not merely the passive support for innovation clustering and diffusion, but constitutes a condition for its emergence. In their view, 'space' openly refers to something more than its physical dimension for no other reason than that inert matter, by definition, has no generative power. With reference to some successful British “industrial districts”, Marshall identified this 'something more' in what he called “industrial atmosphere”, that is “secrets in the air” (Marshall & Marshall, 1879, p. 53) which “yield gratis to the manufacturers [.. .] great advantages, that are not easily to be had elsewhere” (Marshall, 1919,

p. 284). More specifically, in his view 'atmosphere' refers to local and essentially immaterial public or club goods, such as informational spillovers, context-specific know-how, trustfully interpersonal relationships along with an associated reduction in strategic uncertainty,[4] and a spirit of emulation among agents.

Marshall did not, however, give a detailed explanation of the process through which a specific industrial atmosphere arises (and can also dissolve) and works, except for three aspects he mentioned somewhat in passing: (i) its endogenous nature; (ii) its indigenous, place-specific character and, finally, (iii) the mechanisms through which knowledge forms and flows within the local system, which may well rest on spillover diffusion, as “each man profits by the ideas of his neighbours” (Marshall & Marshall, 1879, p. 53), but also on learning, in that “where large masses of people are working at the same kind of trade, they educate one another” (ibid.), on emulation—“[Man] is stimulated by contact with those who are interested in his own pursuit to make new experiments” (ibid.)—and on interactions between producers and “representatives of merchants and large dealers” (Marshall, 1919, p. 284).

These insights into the content and ways of working of 'industrial atmosphere' have not yet succeeded however in dissolving the metaphorical aura which surrounds the term. Apart from admitting that such an atmosphere refers mainly to locally-specific immaterial public goods which, among other features, enhance learning and innovativeness, the question remains of how this actually takes effect. If learning simply occurs through informational spillovers, 'atmosphere' is no more than a synonym for a conductivity channel, i.e. an inherent property of physical space; if 'education' simply happens through (maybe involuntary) information exchange, without any emotional involvement of the parties, 'atmosphere' is reduced to the probability of interpersonal contacts; and if emulation merely consists of copying others' best practices, it turns out to be more the outcome of a mimetic ambience than a condition for its creation.

So there has to be something more in 'industrial atmosphere' (and 'atmosphere' in general) for it to possess a generative power, and a possible way to detect this 'something' is to delve into its metaphorical aura. The question has obviously not passed unnoticed within the scientific debate, and the notions of 'place' and 'milieu' are two main examples of how scholars have tried to cope with it. As regards 'place', the emphasis falls on the relational aspects which take place within a certain localised community. Augé(1995) notes that, in contrast to the abstractness, a-historicity and anonymity of 'space', 'place' is connoted “as relational, historical and concerned with identity” and stands for that system of local conditions which are required for the “organically social” to take form (pp. 77 and 94). “Place is space filled up by people, practices, objects, and representations”, Gieryn (2000) writes more succinctly (p. 465). For his part, Farinelli (2003) underlines the emotional aspects which are inherent in local social relationships, noting that place is “a 'field of attention', the force of which depends on the emotional investment made by the people who inhabit it, [... and which] cannot be known from the outside, but only from the inside” (p. 121; my translation), thus throwing up a bridge between human geography and current reflexions on 'atmosphere'.[5] While agreeing with these views, Massey (2005) underlines the role that 'space' plays as a device for crystallising meanings and somehow annihilating the eroding work of time, in the face of which 'place', with/through its own evolving relational system, makes it possible to reconcile the spatial and temporal dimensions.

Independently of these variations, an active role is unanimously assigned to 'place', in contrast with the inertia of 'space': it helps to confirm collective and individual identities, to provide conditions for co-operation and to facilitate the emplacement of material and immaterial public goods.[6] But what is the role, if any, of the physical component of place—that is 'space', again—in these processes? Does it only work in a functional way, by providing the relational system with a material basis on which it can work and fix itself (Bagnasco, 1994) and, more broadly, by facilitating the actualisation of its innate potentialities? Or does it play an essential part in the relational system, by providing an original contribution to shaping (and not simply actualising) those potentialities themselves? Though it is known where the answer is to be sought, we are far from actually obtaining it: once it was admitted that physical emergences and their spatial arrangement have no generative power per se (Halbwachs, 1968), a substantial consensus grew around the idea that this generative power originates in/by their symbolic dimension. As Gieryn (2000) suggests in summing up a critical review of the notion of place in sociology, “places have power sui generis, all apart from powerful people or organizations who occupy them: the capacity to dominate and control people or things comes through the geographic location, built-form, and symbolic meanings of a place” (p. 475; emphases added). So, though the source of this generative power is indicated, how this power stems from “geographic location, built-form, and symbolic meanings” remains still largely unexplained.

The focus of this latter point on the enhancing/regulatory function of spatial arrangements on social action comes closest to providing an answer to the issue under examination, but it leaves still unresolved the question of their possible generative role, i.e. their capacity to induce people to act in a creative/innovative way. From that point of view, the actions people take within the constraints, pressures and incentives coming from a certain symbolic frame actually belong to a set of potential actions which could pre-exist people's decision to act. What is really at stake within a generative perspective is the idea that the arrangement of things fixed in space helps, through its symbolic meaning, to shape not only action within a certain set of potential moves, but the composition of the set itself. And the fact that the question has remained open can be deduced from a point Werlen (1993) lists among “Risky concrete research proposals” in the Appendix to his work, which concerns “the investigation of patterns of spatial arrangement as the intended/unintended consequences of actions and as the occasion, furtherance or constraint of further actions” (p. 208; emphasis added): here, “further” does not expressly mean “new and original”, but neither does it exclude it.

A decisive answer could have come from Durkheim's work. In Le re`gles de la méthode sociologique (1895) he set out the rudiments for an 'organic'[7] theory of

the generation of “social facts”. He did so by reshaping the notion of milieu, which had already entered the debate about the role of the physical environment in shaping action and, more widely, culture.[8] Whilst not giving any definition of 'milieu', Durkheim outlined its constituent elements and the way they work to give rise to specific “social facts” (specific, in that they cannot be obtained otherwise), these elements being: (a) the volume, that is the number of people involved within a certain relational space, (b) the relational density inside them and (c) the way in which things are spatially arranged. When the first two variables cross certain thresholds, he stated, individuals experience sensations that they do not and cannot ordinarily feel, and which induce them to think and behave in ways other than they usually do.

Somewhat surprisingly, in commenting on these conditions, Durkheim made no further mention of the third element, as it has to be considered as a given condition, which reflects the extant social relationships. He actually concluded by stating that “[although] we are far from believing that we have uncovered all the special features of the social [milieu] which can play some part in the explanation of social facts [.. .] all we can say is that these [i.e. social volume and density] are the sole features we have identified and that we have not been led to seek out others” (Durkheim, 1895; English translation, p. 137). Three years later, Durkheim (1898) brought up this matter again, noting that social life rests on and is affected by a material “substratum”, which “is composed of the mass of individuals who comprise the society, the manner in which they are disposed on the earth, and the nature and configuration of objects of all sorts” (quoted in Emirbayer, 2008, p. 77; emphasis added). How the substratum actually works in a generative way, however, again remained unexplained, except for a simile he provided by writing that “the constitution of this substratum directly or indirectly affects all social phenomena, just as all physical phenomena are placed in mediate or immediate relationship with the brain” (ibid.).

A hypothesis can be made by turning to Durkheim's remark about how societies symbolically project their system of relationships onto the physical environment. Symbols have the peculiarity of representing and also giving substance to otherwise ineffable signifieds (and consequently referents), as typically occurs with respect to social relationships: “The symbolic has being; better, the symbolic produces being”, writes Ferrel significantly (1996, p. 83; original emphasis).[9] The artifice human communities have found to represent notions which are 'beyond words' and make them safe from the contingencies (or “tactics”—de Certeau, 1984) of daily life has been their reification into physical items, possibly fixed in space. When charged with symbolic contents however, physical items not only and not so much represent certain signifieds which stand for certain referents, as occurs in the case of signs, but replace and, to a certain extent, constitute them. In these circumstances, it is the Word which creates the notion, and enables it to interact with the extant referents: without symbols and the connected rituals aimed at establishing and maintaining them as collective institutions, social relationships would turn out to be not only unsteady, ephemeral entities, but also impossible to realise mentally and to deal with practically.

Since symbols not only give origin to signifieds but also content to otherwise ineffable referents, the hypothesis can finally be made that the vicissitudes of symbols affect mental representations and, through them, referents too, i.e. ultimately, social relationships: a gesture or a lack of gesture can substantially change social relationships, as we all know well from daily experience. The crucial question however, is whether the same happens when changes occur in the material substratum (to make recourse to the Durkheimian lexicon) of symbols, that is concrete and spatialised items. Think, for example, of a traditional community and the damage caused by a natural event to a material item which is endowed with a symbolic content. Depending on the symbolic charge, it is not uncommon that the community interprets the damage as a sign sent by a transcendent entity in order to manifest her/his intention to put their relationship to the test. The traditional response is immediate action to repair the damage, usually by means of rituals, and the possible elimination or prevention of factors that could make it happen again. Repairing the material damage suffered by the symbolic item symbolically means exorcising the much more dreaded prospect that the injury will affect the mental system of representations and, through it, the relationship with the transcendent entity (which are both—relationship and divinity—imaginarily con-fused with/in the symbolic item) and, ultimately, social relationships (inasmuch as they are dissimulated).

In conditions of more cultural-and-social flexibility, the response may be quite different. Rather than immediately restoring the symbol's integrity, people (or, more likely, some of them) might wonder about the current relevance of the symbolic content fixed in it. This stage is accompanied by a relaxation in the hitherto necessary and rigid nexus between symbols, signifieds and referents, and a crucial opportunity thus arises to question the mechanism(s) of symbolic production. Once these people have become aware that symbols serve to convey (and fix) essential though ineffable contents (along with the prospect of handling them and, consequently, the underlying referents, i.e., the society itself), there is no longer an urge to repair the damaged symbol, because it no longer (or not so much) stands for something ineffable and untouchable, but something past or which could pass into a nearer or more distant future. From then on the symbol becomes a relict—a symbol, anyway!—of a past or different possible symbolic world: and if people continue to take care of it in these new conditions, their care symbolically serves to maintain the memory of that past or different symbolic world and, at a more reflective level, to call to mind that different symbolic worlds and different ways of looking at them are possible.

The latter kind of response allows people not only to distinguish symbols from their content, but to interact consciously with the process of symbolic production, which belongs to the L3 experience. From then on they become able to look at a certain symbolic apparatus as one contingency among a set of possible others. And they also gain aptitudes and attitudes to play with it, not in the sense of trifling with it, but of enjoying a margin of freedom and creativity in interacting with it.

With these premises it becomes possible to look at 'milieu' in a more comprehensive way. In “cold” or “mechanical” societies, inside which social relations and the associated symbolic system are relatively firm, volume and relational density appear as the only necessary factors for (new) “social facts” to arise, as Durkheim states, whereas the spatial arrangement of symbolic items remains social-specific and rigid: possible changes are promptly corrected/reduced in order to avoid damage to the underlying symbolic system and the further underlying social system. This is maybe why Durkheim, referring mainly to “mechanical” societies, emphasised the conformative role of the material substratum, while neglecting its generative role: within this kind of society, the material substratum is in fact a datum, not a variable. On the contrary, in “hot” or “organic” societies changes in social relationships and, isomorphically, in the symbolic system are admitted, if not encouraged (Redfield & Singer, 1954). Once people become aware of the inherent contingency of any symbolic system, the spatial arrangement of things turns out to be a sort of canvas on which they can exercise their “heterogenetic” aptitudes for play with/in the symbolic dimension (ibid.). It is in the play-margin which forms between the relative steadiness of the symbolic system fixed in space—the langue—and the idiosyncratic impulses stemming from daily practices—the parole (de Saussure, 1983[1916]) or “idiolects” (Eco, 1979) or “tactics” (de Certeau, 1984)—that attitudes and aptitudes form to look at praxis as a malleable domain: which is precisely the domain of creativity and aesthetics (B€ohme, 1993). From this point of view, the physical substratum of a heterogenetic society is no longer 'simply' the material support on which it fixes its symbolic universe, but the space within which it learns to give sense to things, to reshape it and to somehow re-create it. Within this symbolic/aesthetic/creational perspective, 'space' thus becomes landscape/paysage.

The notion and, before it, the experience of landscape occur just in that instant at which the subject realises the possibility of provisionally leaving aside— suspending—the concern with which s/he usually relates to the environment to gain, maintain or also improve her/his material living conditions, and succeeds in adopting a more relaxed stance. This change of mindset does not have a rational foundation (rationalisation may come later, when the subject reflects on the experience s/he has made in changing viewpoint on the world, and on her/himself too), but rests on an emotional basis. The first written and also moving example[10] of how this change of perspective occurs and prompts the landscape experience is found in the Bible: Genesis (1:31) says that in the evening of the sixth day, when Creation had been completed (except for man and woman), God “saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good” (The Holy Bible, King James Version). When he “ended his work”—this is the term the Bible's translators use a few verses later (Genesis, 2:2; emphasis added), establishing an analogy between the act of creating and the human effort of working—God laid down his creative impulse and looked at the things he had created and at himself too (at the mix of aims, expectations, commitment, effort, pleasure and concern which accompanies any demanding work[11]), and finally said to himself: “Behold all that, and delight because your care and efforts have not been vain: everything is good”. In that precise moment, God created the landscape too but, unlike all the other things he had created, he did not give it a name: so the landscape (and the emotional tie it subtends) became the first ineffable entity of Creation: by creating the landscape, God actually created the ineffable.

Like any emotional and aesthetic experience, the landscape experience also rests on a deep sense of taking leave: “The landscape has no history, one loses it as soon as one meets it” (Jakob, 2012, p. 46; our translation[12]). At the precise moment God invests things with His feelings, He becomes aware that from then on those feelings will not belong to Him anymore, but will follow the same destiny as the things themselves. This is maybe the reason why symbols are surrounded by an aura of the ineffable. They are called to carry out the otherwise unachievable task of perpetuating something which, like emotions and underlying relationships, is fleeting by its own nature: once originally experienced, an emotion can no longer be felt in its original form—“you could not step twice into the same river”!—, but only in that mixed form coming from the anguished awareness that it is going to be irremediably lost and the hope that other genuine emotions will come soon after. In this sense, God too, in giving rise to the original experience of landscape, somehow paradoxically felt the inexorable passing of time: just after having created the world, He had inexorably to take leave of his creative experience, though leaving the destiny of experiencing the real passing of time to the Creation itself.

From a stricter cognitive viewpoint, the landscape experience allows subjects to realise the extraordinary possibility of changing mental perspective—mental attitude—in viewing things. What until then had been seen as something to be mastered only by demanding work, from then on can become the pleasant, harmonious fruit of their own or another's endeavour and care, irrespective of whether this other is an individual, a community, a transcendent entity or Nature: what matters is the feeling of freedom—of 'play', in the sense of free moving—the onlooker experiences by learning to see things differently from the usual (and constraining) way, to create different visions: the freedom of re-shaping their sense, her/his own image in relation to them and, most importantly, the possibility of sharing with others this very human experience.

At this point, one could however argue again that it is not physical space per se

which matters in enhancing creativity, but the ability to re-interpret it as landscape. This is right, but physical space nevertheless comes into play within the perspective of landscape. As Massey (2005) and Liebst (2012) remark, the play of void and full spaces, barriers, corners and walks, in short the whole physical configuration of natural and built environment can enhance the attitude for imagining an infinite sequence of possible landscapes, as Giacomo Leopardi's poem Infinite admirably evokes:

Always dear to me was this hermit's hill, And this hedge that always separates me From looking at the distant horizon, but Seated here and lost in an endless meditation Which discovers a vaster space within, Boundless silence and deep inner quiet,

My heart is nearly overcome. And like the wind Murmuring among the leaves to which I compare Its beating, this infinite silence, this inner voice So with my mind I encompass an eternity,

And the seasons die, and the present lives In that sound. And in the middle of all that Immensity, my thought drowns itself:

Sweet to me, to be shipwrecked in this sea.[13]

The simple presence of an edge on the summit of a maybe modest hill in the Marche,[14] along with the murmuring of the wind among the leaves are enough, not only to free the poet's fantasy, but to mould it in a specific way: the imagining of “vaster spaces” [“un-terminated spaces behind it”, with more literal adherence to the original version] and the past and the present seasons. Entering this creative experience in a more detailed way makes it possible to note that: (i) at its prime basis, there is the poet's inclination to feel—better, to induce—emotions, which acts as the 'efficient/moving cause' for the imaginative process will start; (ii) the specific kind of the physical environment—the material items with their spatial arrangement and movement, the sounds and likely colours[15]—along with the poet's inclination, in that occasion, towards natural rather than human aspects,[16] provide the 'material cause', that is the specific set of elements to make use of to substantiate the creative process; (iii) it is however the barrier effect of the edge to the poet's sight to give finally form to the process, and to make it to 'precipitate' into a specific imaginative outcome. It was the poet, of course, who conferred such a role to the edge, in that he was mentally looking not at it but behind it, and this proves to be the decisive point in the creative process: only by hiding (a piece of) reality, only by interposing a wing to its view, only by suspending action and judgement, only by keeping silent (Brunello, 2014), does it become possible to trigger imagination.

The working of this mechanism of concealment was clearly described by Leopardi himself elsewhere:

It is delightful and extremely emotional the view of the city light, where this is bevelled by the shadows, where the dark contrasts with the light, where the light degrades poco a poco, like on the roofs, where some hidden places conceal the sun sight, etc. The variety, the uncertainty, the impossibility of all viewing, and the possibility to ample vision through imagination as regards what one does not view, this all contributes to this delight. I say the same about the effects which are produced by trees, rows, hills, pergolas, farmhouses, haystacks, the unevenness of soils etc. in the countryside (Leopardi, 1901, p. 345; my translation).[17]

Creativity thus shows itself to be not simply re-combining knowledge in a new and useful way and, still less, the outcome of a problem-solving issue (cf. Jahnke, 2012). Re-combination certainly comes into play, but it is only the epiphenomenal aspect of the creative act. The most intriguing question at issue is not so much that a (useful) re-combination occurs, but how it occurs. If it happens within the range of the possibilities (and rules) of conventional knowledge, we are in the presence of 'mere' intelligence or literally inventiveness (i.e., finding). Genuine creativity requires not simply unknown but unexpected and original combinations, which do not wait to be discovered within the set of the possible ones associated with the conventional view of the world, but have to be built by somehow transgressing (literally, 'going beyond') it. The viewer's sight indeed goes beyond the bodies' material 'skin' to search for an image inside them, the image of her/his own interior landscape and the way(s) s/he (and people in general) mould it (Merleau-Ponty, 1964).

This achievement seems to be of some help in overcoming some vagueness about the actual role of space in creativeness which is readable in extant economic reflection on milieus and other contiguous notions (for example, Camagni & Maillat, 2006; Meusburger, Funke, & Wunder, 2009; Cappellin & Wink, 2009). It actually becomes possible to put forward the following chain of arguments:

(a) since any genuine cognitive experience entails taking leave from the so far existing practices of Self to explore some unknown territories,[18] it cannot be carried out without maintaining some ties, however frail, with that Self. 'Taking leave' does not mean abandoning it definitively, or breaking with it, since this would entail the risk of getting lost, if not raving. The device (at least) Humans have found to prevent themselves from falling into such a disaggregating condition, is to establish a net of emotional ties which allows them to lean out towards the unknown while preserving continuity with the Self and contact with the Others;

(b) that net of shared emotions is what makes a certain atmosphere to rise within the persons/bodies involved. This matches the notion of atmosphere Andreas Philippopoulos-Mihalopoulos puts forward in this book, namely “the excess of affect that keeps bodies together; and what emerges when bodies are held together by, through and against each other”. Such an excess is the “social fact” stemming from (and inherent to) that net itself, namely sharing common emotions;

(c) the projection of such an atmosphere onto the physical space gives rise to the experience of 'landscape', which is the device individuals and communities take recourse to in order to give recognisable form to—and somehow to name—that essential though extremely volatile entity;

(d) the feeling of socially sharing a common atmosphere, which is symbolically fixed on a common landscape, is what transforms a local space into place, into that context-specific field of emotions Farinelli (2003) speaks about;

(e) when a certain place enjoys specific features, such as a degree of heterogeneity and relational density, it assumes a generative power, thus becoming 'milieu';

(f) finally to get to the notion of 'knowledge-creating milieu', it is worth remembering that not every kind of emotion is conducive to knowledge. Within the wider set of moral feelings, 'e-motion' (etymologically, 'moving from') designates a mental/experiential movement. Fear and panic, which are blocking feelings, do not properly belong to the realm of emotions, and actually hinder learning. Within real emotions, further distinction is possible, between backward and onward emotions. The first ones, like nostalgia, bring the subject back to an already experienced condition and finally lock her/him into a self-nurturing, unproductive languor. On the other hand, not all onward emotions are conducive to knowledge: impulse, want, pre-tension are again idealisations of something already experienced, they are nostalgia cum aggressiveness rather than cum languor. It is only by moving onwards while agreeing to take leave from the Self, that subjects can experience/know something genuinely new. This means that a generic milieu turns into a 'knowledge-creating milieu' if endowed with a specific kind of atmosphere, which encourages people to 'take leave from', towards exploration of new experiential fields, without fearing of loosing themselves.

  • [1] For reviews, see Breschi and Malerba (2001), Simmie (2005), but there have since been many additions to the literature
  • [2] Except by some not incidentally heterodox scholars (for example, Jacobs, 1961)
  • [3] The term is also drawn from the taxonomy proposed by Capello (2007)
  • [4] See Camagni (1991)
  • [5] See, for example, Emotion, Space and Society, The journal of the Society for Study of Emotion, Affect and Space, Elsevier,
  • [6] For deeper examinations and critical reviews, see Werlen (1993), Gieryn (2000)
  • [7] The term is not coincidental with reference to Durkheim
  • [8] See Buttimer (1971)
  • [9] It is not possible to avoid quoting the extraordinary notion of 'symbol' Hugues de Saint-Victor (1096(?)-1141) gave by writing that it “is a bringing together, that is, a harmonizing of visible forms for the purpose of demonstrating things that have been stated about what is invisible” (translation from Latin quoted in Ricoeur, 2004, p. 55; emphasis added)
  • [10] 'The first example' within the Judaic-Christian culture
  • [11] Supposing that it is proper to bestow these feelings on God
  • [12] See also Besse (2008)
  • [13] Translated by Richard Jackson, Numéro Cinq Magazine, 2(10), March 7, 2011. Available at
  • [14] Leopardi's native region in Italy
  • [15] See Goldoni, in this book
  • [16] Nothing would have prevented the poet or another watcher in the same conditions seeing and singing (also) the human (or God's) hand under/within that little natural world, but Leopardi's well known anguished detachment from the common joys of social life and his 'religious atheism' can explain his inclination towards evocation of natural links
  • [17] A very similar mechanism is described by Proust (1992): “.. . tout d'un coup un toit, un reflet de soleil sur une pierre, l'odeur d'un chemin me faisaient arreˆter par un plaisir particulier qu'ils me donnaient, et aussi parce qu'ils avaient l'aire de cacher au dela` de ce que je voyais, quelque chose qu'ils m'invitaient a` venir prendre et que malgrémes efforts je n'arrivais pas a` découvrir” (p. 172). See also Liebst (2012)
  • [18] “The subjectification of learning can only occur through a certain quota of oblivion. This is why [Emilio] Vedova used to say that being a painter means living constantly on the "edge of a precipice", on the "edge of the void"” (Recalcati, 2014, p. 46; my translation).
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