A-4/12 Understanding Farmers Aesthetic Preference for Tidy Agricultural Landscapes: A Bourdieusian Perspective

Studies of landscape aesthetics based on photographic assessment indicate that farmers have a unique perspective—seeing beauty in the same ordered and controlled arable agricultural landscapes that almost all other publics find monotonous and boring. This paper uses Bourdieu's theory of capital to explore why farmers hold this perspective. Interpretations farmers place on ‘tidy’ features such as straight lines and evenly coloured fields were explored through a cross-cultural study between Germany and Scotland. Results show how farmers ‘read’ agricultural landscapes for signs of skilled farming, and how their interpretation is dependent on knowledge of the connection between efficient farming practices and the appearance of forms and colours in the fields. The implications of agricultural landscape aesthetics for the development of cultural and social capital are discussed. Landscape Research, 37(1):51-71

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