• Political landscape;
  • environmental perception;
  • David Lowenthal;
  • Carl O. Sauer;
  • George Perkins Marsh

The concept of landscape is enjoying a period of scholarly development in contemporary geography that has spread to, and enriched, disciplines ranging from anthropology, archaeology, and sociology to history and philosophy. This development is occurring despite the fact the concept of landscape was once effectively dismissed, by an influential geographical theorist, as being of “little or no value as a technical or scientific term” in geography. This article argues that the contemporary analytical power of landscape derives in important measure from the timely ability of David Lowenthal to turn the critique of landscape on end. He did this by transforming the very contradictions embodied by landscape, which made it a liability as technical or scientific term, into a phenomenon for epistemological inquiry.