Research topic: Cultural landscape
The term cultural landscape has been used by geographers since the early 20th century. Since the 1970s the term has entered everyday speech and is also commonly used within the fields of natural and cultural studies.
Previously a distinction was drawn between "nature" and "culture". Today the prevailing view emphasises the influence of mankind on all landscapes, in one way or another. As a result, cultural historians today prefer to refer to "mankind's surroundings" or simply "the landscape".
The use of the term "cultural landscape" is, however, still relevant, generally when referring to landscapes that have been affected purely physically by human activity. The concept is often used normatively, but in today's academic environment should preferably be used descriptively.
Both "cultural landscape" and "landscape" express something that is complete. One way of using these concepts in cultural studies today is to apply them thematically. We can, for example, speak of the city landscape, the fisher/farmer landscape, the hydropower landscape, the motorway landscape, the national romantic landscape, the tourist landscape etc.
Over the past 20 years, the concept of "view of landscape" has become an important area of research. Researchers in this area are concerned with knowledge and ideas about our physical surroundings, or "the landscape in our heads". This emphasises the fact that people's views of the landscape are time and culturally dependent.