chapter
Heidegger, Latour, and the reification of things
The inversion and spatial enclosure of the substantive landscape – The Lake District case
WithKenneth R. Olwig
Pages 32

An important key to understanding the character and consequences of the reification of the meaning of thing is to be found in the relationship between thing and its linguistically “conjoined sibling”–landscape. The analysis will begin by examining the historical meaning of the concept of thing as understood by Heidegger and as developed in the present day context by Latour. Heidegger and Latour thus focus on landscape in the modern sense as a spatial assemblage of physical things, and neglect to consider that the ancient thing was constitutive of landscape in its original nonmodern sense as a substantive political community, commonwealth, or res publica. The scenic landscape is something that one performs upon, like a stage, within a scaled, hierarchical, spatial structure of authority, as in state territorial systems of governance or a property regime in which private ownership is key to social position and power.