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Meanings of place : Everyday experience and theoretical conceptualizations

Journal of Environmental Psychology,

Author: Gustafson, P.
Year: 2001
Type: Journal Article


This paper suggests an analytical framework for the understanding of what makes places meaningful. In an interview study, respondents were asked to list places they considered important and describe what these places meant to them. The analysis of the interviews indicates that meanings spontaneously attributed to places by the respondents can be mapped around and between the three poles of self, others and environment. In addition, a number of underlying dimensions of meaning emerge: distinction, valuation, continuity and change. The relationship between these results and earlier empirical research is discussed. The paper also points out that, to a great extent, the empirical findings converge with theoretical conceptualizations of place within social science. It therefore argues that the results of empirical studies need not be limited to ‘special places’, but may also, using the suggested analytical framework, contribute to more general empirical and theoretical discussions regarding the roles and meanings of place in contemporary society

Further Details

Pages 5-16
Volume 21
Issue 1
Accession Number December, 2010
Keywords Mental

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