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December 2019

Soc Sci Med. 1992 Apr; 34(7): 735-46.

Therapeutic landscapes: medical issues in light of the new cultural geography.

Gesler WM.

Department of Geography, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill 27599-3220.

Employing an expanded meaning of the concept of landscape taken from the 'new' cultural geography, this paper explores why certain places or situations are perceived to be therapeutic. Themes from both traditional and recent work in cultural geography are illustrated with examples from the literature of the social science of health care. The themes include man-environment relationships; humanist concepts such as sense of place and symbolic landscapes; structuralist concepts such as hegemony and territoriality; and blends of humanist concerns, structuralist concerns, and time geography. The intention of this broad overview is to bring some particularly useful concepts developed in cultural geography to the attention of social scientists interested in matters of health and to stimulate research along new lines.


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