Reflected places of childhood: applying the ideas of humanistic and cultural geographies to environmental education research
- New EER Article Alert
Pages: 1-9 | DOI: 10.1080/13504622.2016.1269875
The article investigates people–environment relationships from the viewpoint of humanistic and cultural geographies and highlights the importance of subjective experiences and emotional place attachment in the construction of environmental attitudes. Some core concepts of these research fields (e.g. ‘place’, ‘insideness/outsideness’, ‘topophilia/topophobia) are defined and their meanings for environmental relations are interpreted. Empirical material is based on the written essays of 65 students who participated in the Introduction Course of Environmental Education at the University of Helsinki, Finland. The analysis concentrated on students’ childhood memories to find out what kind of environmental experiences were regarded as significant from the adults’ perspective. The essays showed how the students’ environmental attitudes were not always based on their experiences of nature but their connection to the environment could also be constructed in urban settings. The role of everyday environments and other people during childhood years were regarded as essential elements in constructing close bonds with the environment.
Keywords: Place, environment, sense of place, humanistic geography, cultural geography