Placing therapeutic landscape as theoretical development in Health & Place

Kearns, R. and Milligan, C. (2019) Placing therapeutic landscape as theoretical development in Health & Place. Health and Place, 61: 102224. ISSN 1353-8292

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This commentary reviews the development and application of therapeutic landscape ideas as they have appeared and developed within issues of Health and Place to date. This framework builds on landscape ideas drawn from humanist and structuralist influences in the ‘new’ cultural geography and seeks to deepen interpretation of the therapeutic reputation of certain places. These ideas have gained particular traction within health geography. We identified 119 papers published within Health and Place that have invoked the term in their titles and/or key words. Close scrutiny of these papers identified three main themes: spaces of care, mobile experiences of therapeutic places; and applications reaching beyond the Anglo-American world. Drawing on extracts from a 2017 exchange with Wilbert Gesler, who developed the construct, we note that some work in this field has drifted significantly from the tripartite foundations of therapeutic landscape he initially identified. We highlight the importance of maintaining the integrity of this foundation while recognising the value of new thinking that has usefully extended the concept around relationality and enabling (human and non-human) resources. We conclude that some applications of therapeutic landscape thinking have reached well beyond its intended scope, resulting in a dilution of the construct's interpretive power. Nevertheless its influence within health geography has been potent. Specifically, it has been a theoretical pivot facilitating methodological experimentation and diversification; allowed a return of the idiographic tradition; and offered a platform from which deeper theorising has occurred.

Item Type:
Journal Article
Journal or Publication Title:
Health and Place
Additional Information:
This is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Health & Place. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Health & Place, 61, 2020 DOI: 10.1016/j.healthplace.2019.102224
Uncontrolled Keywords:
?? therapeutic landscapeshealth geographyreviewhealth and placehealth(social science)public health, environmental and occupational healthgeography, planning and development ??
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Deposited On:
08 Jan 2020 09:15
Last Modified:
04 May 2024 00:09