The Road to Indian Wells: Symbolic Landscapes in the California Desert

The approach of this chapter demonstrates symbolization not to be an intellectualist deduction or Kantian construction, but rather an existential generation from pre-cognitive embodiment. Moreover, it exhibits theoretical tensions that we point out in the introduction concerning the relation between the symbolic dimension and material conditions. What strikes us is that the author’s attunement to his lived experiences, his own embodiment in relation to the experienced milieu, is the motivation for trying to understand the meaning of this particular landscape through an engagement with the layers of its symbolic history. It is the non-resonance within the author’s own body schema that manifests as the uncanny in his felt experience. His awakened attunement to this feeling is what drives him to research the symbolic landscape with which his embodied gestures has had to negotiate. His discussion of the genius loci of the Coachella Valley, the contemporary affluents’ and the prior Cahuillas’ embodied experiences, and their respective symbolizations, illustrates the notion that the genesis of symbolic landscapes (symbolic meanings) involves the lived-body in relation to the milieu (EarthBody) that is enacted in the body schema and objectivated in social/cultural practices and beliefs.


Palm Tree Social Formation Body Schema Desert Environment Park Ranger 
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© Springer Science + Business Media, B.V 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.National UniversityLa JollaUSA

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