Creating Transdisciplinary Dialogue
Edited By Marianne E. Krasny and Justin Dillon
Chapter 9. Art and Environmental Education Research: Reflections on Place: Joseph E. Heimlich and Mary Miss
Art and Environmental Education Research: Reflections on Place
Joe E. Heimlich and Mary Miss
Interpreting art, as in making meaning of any new experience, requires the individual to enter into a personal dialogue with the work from the perspective of who they are—the sum of their prior experiences (Piaget 1977). In the environmental education arena, it is often assumed that the sum of one’s prior experiences relates in a causal manner to the “place of who one is,” which in turn is the same as place identity. But place also brings with it the concept of connection to a place—or place attachment—and the degree to which one feels he/she belongs in and to a particular environment or geographic spot, the sense or meaning of place.
Place identity refers to the emotional and physical connections one makes with a neighborhood, house or building, community, city, or area. Place is important as it has meaning in providing emotional stability and a context within which the individual acquires knowledge through experiences of the senses (Read 2007). Gustafson (2001) cautioned that there are many, divergent definitions of sense of place and place identity, and there also appears to be confusion in defining sense of place, place attachment, and place identity (Manzo 2003; Kyle, Mowen, and Tarrant 2004). Hernandez, Hidalgo, Salazar-Laplace, and Hess (2007) argue, however, that place attachment and place identity overlap because studies often focus on those who have lived...
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