Social Imaginaries of Space
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Social Imaginaries of Space

Concepts and Cases

Bernard Debarbieux

Travelling through various historical and geographical contexts, Social Imaginaries of Space explores diverse forms of spatiality, examining the interconnections which shape different social collectives. Proposing a theory on how space is intrinsically linked to the making of societies, this book examines the history of the spatiality of modern states and nations and the social collectives of Western modernity in a contemporary light.
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Chapter 3: Case 1: competing imaginaries of nature in Yosemite

Bernard Debarbieux


In 1851, settlers chasing apparently hostile Native Americans entered a valley of the Sierra Nevada, California; they called it Yo Semite. They were overwhelmed by this yawning valley riven by glaciers, with a peaceful river at the bottom running between woods and meadows and surrounded by immense walls of granite and cascading waterfalls. They hurried to chronicle it and many newspapers across the country ran it. The site’s renown grew in several years.

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