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Spectrum

Article Title

Manifestations of Ideational Landscapes: Heaven, Hell and Film

Publication Date

9-1-2012

Abstract

There is a place where you walk upon the clouds. Before entering, you must go through a golden gate of sorts. Once passed, all of your loved ones smile and greet you. There might be a flock of doves flying someplace in the distance. Somewhere else is another place constructed not of clouds, but of jagged rocks. This place is dark and full of fire. You feel alone, full of dread and fear.

These two places should be familiar despite a simple description. Hopefully you identified them as Heaven and Hell, respectively. They are classified as one of the three landscapes, which Knapp and Ashmore (1990) define as constructed, conceptualized, and ideational (1990:10-13). A constructed landscape is a set of meanings imposed on a built feature. Conceptualized landscapes place meaning on natural features. A mountain, for example, might have cultural significance despite not having any manmade alterations done to it. Finally, an ideational landscape is something that can be experienced within the mind and thought of, rather than experienced physically. It can also be termed as an imagined place. In this paper I discuss ideational landscapes using Heaven and Hell as main examples. I argue that the general concept of ideational landscapes can give insight on how humans have the ability to create a communal place; more specifically, ideational landscapes can be a collective set of thoughts, desires, and social manifestations.

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