Install the app

Install this application on your home screen for quick and easy access when you’re on the go.

Just tap Share then “Add to Home Screen”

Political Research Exchange

Anthropology, Landscape and Migration

Social Welfare
Shelley Egoz
Norwegian University of Life Sciences
Shelley Egoz
Norwegian University of Life Sciences

The prevailing understanding of the word landscape has traditionally been ‘scenery’. In the last few decades, scholarship in diverse humanistic sciences from geography, archaeology, sociology to anthropology and several others has advanced a different definition: landscape is the relationship between humans and their environment, and best equipped in studying this relationship is the discipline of anthropology, where one can point to the significant work on landscape of scholars such as Barbara Bender and Tim Ingold. This paper will present a theoretical framework for analysis of current societal challenges of migration and integration using the notion of landscape and advocating ethnographic methods to understand the role of landscape in facilitating integration. The argument brought forward is that migration and landscape are interlaced concepts that share narratives and the coupling of the two subjects will produce insights and original knowledge useful for policy making on integration.

The European Landscape Convention (ELC) signed in Florence in 2000, and ratified by 38 states, considers landscape a cultural construct, in ordinary as well as in outstanding and even degraded areas, and an entity that is “perceived by people”. Hence, landscape embodies both a spatial material dimension made of tangible elements, and non-material meanings and values arising from people’s perceptions. Understood as a tangible manifestation of societal structures, landscape is a reference in the processes of building individual and collective identities and a significant expression of local culture. A relationship with landscape is an expression of the human condition, a concept employed across disciplines. Migration studies address the movement of people from one place or country to another. This geographic component implies that one central factor of the experience of migration is the role of the physical environment or landscape whether concrete or symbolic. At the same time, landscape perceptions are embedded in people’s different cultures and this makes landscape an important medium, an intangible arena within which ideas are exchanged and powers enacted. Since landscape refers to both landforms and their meanings, it allows to explore the relationship between people and place in terms of material elements deemed important by people, but also in terms of immaterial values assigned to them. The triad narrative of landscape, migration and anthropology is explored and discussed.
Share this page

Back to top