Human Ecology

, Volume 38, Issue 4, pp 521–537 | Cite as

Seeing, not Participating: Viewscape Fetishism in American and Norwegian Rural Amenity Areas

Article

Abstract

Based on participant-driven photo elicitation and in-depth key informant interviews conducted in an American and Norwegian rural amenity area, this article argues that newcomers, seasonal home owners and other stakeholders in rural amenity areas may fail to appreciate, or choose to ignore, the social relations tied to their property or the consequences that their seemingly innocuous decisions can have for local communities. Viewscape fetishism can cause the “magic” of commodified natural amenities to obscure more complex, holistic understandings of the land in favor of a simplified view based on individualized use or exchange value, both of which are highly influence by the sign value inherent in property situated with access to scenic viewscapes. This phenomenon can create barriers to social interaction and community building, and lead to environmental degradation in places that are rich in natural amenities and vulnerable to change.

Keywords

Viewscape fetishism Community Amenity migration Rural development Sign value 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of Wisconsin OshkoshOshkoshUSA

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