Geographer Yi-Fu Tuan's study of space and place aims more toward suggestion than conclusion. A retired professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Tuan is scientist, psychologist and philosopher as he attempts to order human understandings of space (which he equates with freedom) and place (which he equates with home) through human experiences of the body, architecture, mythology, time, and relationships. Devoting entire chapters to the way children's awareness of space and place differs from, and then merges with, adult awareness as well as the roles of physical ability and knowledge in surviving and thriving in particular geographic conditions (here examples include Eskimo, Siberian and Pacific Islander native groups), Tuan considers the ways in which humans form attachments to their homes and work. On par with Martin Buber's difficult but important I and Thou
, Yi-Fu Tuan's Space and Place
requires patience and a steady read. Like Buber, his approach is quickening in its organic and holistic approach and oft times difficult to wrap your brain around. Fortunately, his plain-speech style (as opposed to Buber's inherently poetic style) and abundant use of illustration gives this ambiguous and infinite subject legs and feet to stand on. Periodically, Tuan graciously reminds us that the experience of both space and place is fundamentally intimate: ''Life is lived, not a pageant from which we stand aside and observe. The real is the familiar daily round, unobtrusive like breathing.''
An Eighth Day View:
In the 25 years since its original publication, Space and Place has not only established the discipline of human geography, but it has proven influential in such diverse fields as theater, literature, anthropology, psychology, and theology. Eminent geographer Yi-Fu Tuan considers the ways in which people feel and think about space, how they form attachments to home, neighborhood, and nation, and how feelings about space and place are affected by the sense of time. He suggests that place is security and space is freedom: we are attached to the one and long for the other. Whether he is considering sacred versus "biased" space, mythical space and place, time in experiential space, or cultural attachments to space, Tuan's analysis is thoughtful and insightful.