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Australian Suburban Imaginaries of Nature: Towards a prospective history


Davison, AG, Australian Suburban Imaginaries of Nature: Towards a prospective history, Australian Humanities Review, (37) EJ ISSN 1325-8338 (2005) [Refereed Article]


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The author and Australian Humanities Review 2005


In everything from wilderness documentaries and ecotourism developments to the advertising of real estate and shampoo, contemporary forms of symbolic convergence between nature and the good life have complex and historically deep sources. Within this broad subject, the question of what lessons can be learnt about present imaginaries of nature from Australia's remarkable suburban history is an intriguing one. I concentrate on two - of, no doubt, several - instructive possibilities here. First, I suggest that private dreams of Edenic harmony with and social autonomy in domestic nature were not only prominent during the first century of Australian suburbanisation (roughly, 1850 to 1950), they operated as a counterweight to public dreams of technological dominion over raw nature in the creation of Australian modernity. Second, I propose that growing disenchantment with and anxiety about the technological reality of suburban Eden during and since the post-war 'boom' is an important and overlooked element in processes by which post-war environmental movements and, latterly, wider culture have re-imagined and re-lived dreams of refuge in nature through the figure of wilderness.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Research Division:Human Society
Research Group:Human geography
Research Field:Social geography
Objective Division:Culture and Society
Objective Group:Understanding past societies
Objective Field:Understanding Australia's past
UTAS Author:Davison, AG (Associate Professor Aidan Davison)
ID Code:36645
Year Published:2005
Deposited By:Geography and Environmental Studies
Deposited On:2005-08-01
Last Modified:2011-09-22
Downloads:307 View Download Statistics

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