Henri Lefebvre, Space and Folklore.
Ethnologies 2002, Annual, 24, 1
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Every now and again our scholarly notions are put to a real test in the context of our day-to-day lives, forcing us to ground our comfortable academic abstractions in the complex hurly-burly of our own daily existence. This happened to me recently when I took possession of a small, 50 acre farm in rural British Columbia. Originally conceived as a place for quiet, contemplative writing and an opportunity to come closer to the wildness of the region, this piece of land soon began poking and prodding me with a series of challenges that have had tremendous impact upon my views of social tradition and, in a very broad sense, my understandings of folklore. As I scurried about trying to address these challenges, scouring library shelves and chatting with colleagues and neighbours, I came face-to-face with the importance of space. I began to recognize that this place in the south-east corner of BC, with its strange buildings in unexpected places, its fences totally independent of surveyed property lines, its piles of what seemed to be garbage all over the place, its seemingly random trenches and pathways, its unfamiliar codes of staining and whitewashing buildings, and its many other mysteries, demanded a much more complicated and sophisticated view of space than I'd held earlier. Indeed, the farm emerged as a conundrum, forcing me to actively reconsider my conception of space. For me, a breakthrough came when I encountered the thinking of Henri Lefebvre. Here I found a series of ideas that began to clarify space and that took me beyond my previously limited and foreclosing ideas. His vision of space opened up a number of avenues of thought that provided new insights and ideas about this strange-seeming place in the East Kootenays of British Columbia. I began to see space as a complex, multifaceted and intermixed series of different domains in which the relational and dialogic have precedence over the static and realist notions I'd held earlier. Indeed, space came to life in Lefebvre's ideas.
- Category: Social Science
- Published: 01 January 2002
- Publisher: Ethnologies
- Print Length: 36 Pages
- Language: English