Travel Reference
In-Depth Information
undifferentiated space that is eminently cultural, such as the Canadian
north or the American frontier, concepts that remain elusive until they
are reached, explored, and named, at which point they become places
(chapter seven). One can even have what is usually considered a de-
fined 'place,' such as a city, transformed into a 'space' if experienced as
undifferentiated, as in an urban 'wasteland' or, to the contrary, the
'promised land' (chapter six). 8
More common, however, is the intersection of the terms space and
place with those of nature and culture, as we see again in Dumont's title,
Le lieu de l'homme: La culture comme distance et mémoire, which equates place
('lieu') with culture ('la culture'). This fascinating work may seem too ab-
stract to apply to a study of landscape in its most concrete sense, but even
a statement as dense as 'si la culture est un lieu, ce n'est pas comme une
assise de la conscience, mais comme une distance qu'elle a pour fonction
de créer' (270; if culture is a place, it is not so as a foundation for con-
sciousness, but as a distance that it serves to create) invokes the notions of
place ('un lieu') and space ('une distance'), albeit in the context of an inner
environment ('la conscience'), which is, nonetheless, highly applicable to
our exploration of identity. In effect, Dumont distinguishes between a
first type of culture ('culture première'), inherited as a given set of objects,
symbols, customs, and language practices (149), and a second type ('cul-
ture seconde'), which involves a coherent set of collective values, absent
from everyday life yet intuited by 'la conscience' (both conscience and
consciousness) from nostalgia for the past and exposure to great works of
art (87). This other sense of culture is experienced as a distance, which
generates both the capacity and the compulsion to reflect on present prac-
tices and past traditions with a certain objectivity and freedom that poten-
tially enable man to define and improve his 'place' (255-7) in a universe
whose meanings and modalities are constantly shifting. Such a notion of
cultural 'doubling' (73; dédoublement ) provides interesting perspectives
from which to approach the circumstances of colonization, assimilation,
and acculturation that have characterized Quebec's history as well as is-
sues like hybrid identity, present from as early as the French colonial pe-
riod (chapters one and two), and multiculturalism, at the centre of today's
identitary debates (chapters nine and ten).
Imagery and Identity
The landscape, characterized as it is by the interaction of nature and
culture and of space and place, is represented through an 'image' (or
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