Landscape develops within the material setting of local environment and it therefore acquires many of the latter’s typical features. Through time and generations, human groups perceive environmental “givens” as part of the deep nature of places. “Domesticated” as landscape can be, the underlying nature of its material context can create dangers. Disasters may occur due to purely natural factors, or they can be triggered by human presence and actions. In any case, perceived threats from the environment become a socially and culturally shared experience; a part of the worldview. This obviously plays a role in how material components of landscape are shaped and how the immaterial ones are felt. Through past ages to this day, ancestral fears are associated to forces of nature such as storms, floods, earthquakes, considered either as periodical or exceptional phenomena; but as science and technology progress, it turns out that the effects of natural forces are significantly conditioned by anthropic factors. Depending on situations and actions, human presence can either cause or avert a disaster. In various circumstances, human groups succeeded or failed in properly handling critical conditions generated by the environment: the outcome had obviously several possible explanations within the scope of geography. Among them, however, geosocial and geocultural aspects are certainly to be included. This session welcomes contributions focused: on how “threats-from-the-environment”, either due to nature alone or integrated with anthropic activities, are perceived by involved communities. on how such perception proves effective or not in protecting inhabitants from disasters by diversely affecting reification, symbolization or structuration of landscape. Particular attention will be given to papers offering both theoretical interpretations and case-study discussions.
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