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Sacred nature and profane objects in seachange

Osbaldiston, Nick (2009) Sacred nature and profane objects in seachange. In Majoribanks, T., Barraket, J., Chang, J-S, Dawson, A., Guillemin, M., Henry-Waring, M., et al. (Eds.) TASA 2008 Conference, 1-4 December 2008, University of Melbourne.

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Abstract

This paper seeks to interrogate the Seachange phenomena by utilising cultural theoretical principles developed by Durkheim (1995[1912]) and later reconceptualised through Smith (1999). It is argued that nature plays a significant role within the Seachange discourse by being ‘sacralised’ against the ‘profane’ metropolis. By interrogating public documentation developed by local councils, it is shown that nature is constructed as ‘pristine’ and ‘untouched’. This is counter-posed against the city which is aesthetically devoid of authenticity or pleasantness. Objects of technology which signify the metropolis then are considered profane and require separation from the natural world. However, the paper shows that through policy innovation, this separation is achieved on an aesthetic, predominantly visual level rather than physically, due to the demands of these areas for services (Gurran, Squires & Blakely, 2006). This occurs through hiding the ‘profane’ objects from the spectacle of nature, or if that is not possible, by blending them aesthetically into the natural surrounds. The paper concludes by examining the manner in which past ‘mundane’ objects such as 19th century infrastructures, are symbolically transformed to represent part of the area’s ‘sacredness’. Thus, the sacred/profane distinction is not fixed and immobile, but can shift according to cultural understandings.

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ID Code: 18341
Item Type: Conference Paper
Keywords: Seachange, Durkheim, Sacred, Profane, Material Culture
ISBN: 978-0-7340-3984-2
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY (160000) > SOCIOLOGY (160800) > Rural Sociology (160804)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY (160000) > SOCIOLOGY (160800) > Social Theory (160806)
Divisions: Past > QUT Faculties & Divisions > QUT Carseldine - Humanities & Human Services
Current > Schools > School of Accountancy
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2009 The Author
Deposited On: 26 Feb 2009 12:47
Last Modified: 09 Jun 2010 23:27

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