New Localism, Arts and Culture
This chapter concentrates on the aesthetic and cultural aspects of new localism. It construes humans (and perhaps all sentient beings) as synaesthetic, in the sense that response and action are determined by association rather than either pure rationality or immediate sensory reception of the innate objective qualities. Human meaning making is thus always in a sense aesthetic and imaginative. The chapter then moves from addressing specific issues relating to the arts, such as the role of local arts centres, to the broader sense in which local management of the built and natural environment is inevitably conditioned by aesthetic, cultural and local considerations. Suggestions are made as to how practices and policies in areas such as language and religion could be more locally sensitive and diverse. Finally, the chapter considers the more philosophical issue of measurement and meaning, returning to the earlier critique of mathematised modernist culture and the related tendency to reduce value to the easily measurable, thus unintentionally squeezing out much of individual, local and cultural significance.
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