Expressing the Earth: Towards a Geopoetic Creative Ethnology

This essay was published in the Scottish Centre for Geopoetics online journal, Stravaig: Issue 6


In June I attended the interdisciplinary ‘Expressing the Earth’ gathering on Seil Island. After a life-affirming few days of talks, walks and conversations, many disparate parts of my life and work began to emerge as parts of a coherent whole that had not revealed itself to me in quite the same way before. I left energised and inspired, for the first time in a long time, to reflect, to write and to re-connect with that which is important to me. This essay is a reflection on that experience, tracing both my own journey into geopoetics and the contours of an emerging creative practice.

I am an ethnologist. Ethnology is a form of interdisciplinary anthropological research and practice that, at its heart, seeks to understand how we, as humans, make life meaningful. We might describe it as the study of how communities (ethnoi) make sense of themselves to themselves in particular places through cultural memory and creative expression.[1] Often, the focus of ethnological study is on our relationship with the past and how we make sense of it in the present. Fieldwork is a key tool and, through an ethic of mutuality, can reflect the manifold and creative ways meaning is expressed. Historically, ethnology has been closely associated with its sister discipline of folklore[2] and the study of local traditional culture.[3] In recent years, particularly in a European context, ethnologists have been intensively and extensively engaged in investigating and negotiating questions of cultural identity and belonging. Put simply, ethnology is about bearing witness to the experience of others. As a practice, ethnology values human relationships and emotional connections, recognises the diversity of human experience and understands the importance of our ecological connection to place.

Here in Scotland - in part a response to the cultural and political context in the aftermath of the 2014 referendum, and ongoing debates in arts, culture and higher education - a group of ethnologists and creative practitioners have begun to explore the potential of a ‘creative ethnology’ outwith the strictures of the university.[4] Implicit in the notion of creative ethnology is a creative practice. As ethnologist Ullrich Kockel has previously noted, Kenneth White insisted on the need not only for a ‘new philosophy of poetry,’ but a ‘new poetic anthropology’.[5] ‘The real work,’ White writes, ‘consists in changing the categories, grounding a new anthropology, moving towards a new experience of the earth and of life.’ ‘To be truly creative,’ writes Norman Bissell,

‘We must adopt [a] sensitive awareness and openness to the world, and work at it consciously in our various fields of endeavour – whether in music, writing, visual and other arts or sciences or combinations of these… By developing a heightened awareness of the earth and cosmos and our relationship to it we can nourish our creative expression in all these fields.’[6]

I invited Ullrich Kockel – a friend and fellow ethnologist whose writing I admire - if we might take ‘Expressing the Earth’ as an opportunity to explore what might be possible for a radical creative ethnology that boldly embraces geopoetics.


Aesthetic Encounters

Many of us will be able to bring to mind a moment or meaningful encounter in our lives – perhaps a piece of art or literature, a live performance, being in nature, a chance meeting, a discovery, being together, solitude – that has stuck with us; something that has caused us to think differently or to see the world in a new way. We began the conversation at Expressing the Earth by inviting participants to reflect upon and share such an experience. We talked about Nan Shepherd’s ‘unheralded moments of revelation’ in her journey into The Living Mountain (1977) and Neil Gunn’s ‘moments of sheer unconditional delight'.[7] In The Atom of Delight (1956), Gunn reflects on his quest for

‘the particular moment, the arrested scene, that holds a significance difficult to define, but not at all vague; vivid, fine with a delight that words blur; as the word ‘significance’ blurs the clear this is it...’[8]

While we may find it difficult to express the full meaning of such encounters in everyday language, for many, these are the most meaningful and significant of our lives. As an ethnologist, I am interested in these moments, these heightened aesthetic experiences that re-frame or affirm our perception of the world and our relationship to it. A ‘heightened aesthetic experience’ is understood here not in the sense of a matter of judgement or taste, but rather - as opposed to the anaesthetic experience – as one in which our senses are operating at their peak, when we are present in the current moment with heightened awareness, when we are fully alive.

My own PhD research - which I have been revisiting recently through a geopoetic lens - explored the aesthetics and poetics of the traditional ballad.[9] Rather than focusing on a collection of folklore ‘texts’, I was interested in the embodied aesthetic experience of performance: in this case, the shivers, tingles, and chills we sometimes experience listening to unaccompanied traditional song. Traveller ballad singer and storyteller Sheila Stewart (1937 – 2014), describes it like this:

‘Just like maybe somebody says, “you sang there and the hair on my head stood up,” you know?’[10]

On these occasions, words and music, singer and listeners, past and present fuse together in the living present, unlocking layers of imagination, memory and meaning. In order to make sense of such experiences, we reach for metaphor - for poetic language - to create and re-create meaning. Metaphor has poetic power precisely because it re-connects abstract thought with embodied experience, providing a grounding we often fail to see precisely because it is so pervasive and fundamental. The philosopher Mark Johnson makes the case that all metaphors are grounded in our visceral experience and explains that it is through our bodily perceptions, movements, senses and emotions that meaning becomes possible. That is to say, all aspects of meaning-making are fundamentally aesthetic.[11]

A richly poetic example of creative ‘thinking by metaphor’ is the Spanish Frederico Garcia Lorca’s lecture, ‘Theory and Play of the Duende,’ first delivered in Argentina in 1933, reflecting on artistic inspiration and creation. The elusive duende is a metaphor that reaches to make sense of a heightened aesthetic experience in response to expressive art, in this case, cante jondo or deep song. Lorca describes it as

‘a mental wind blowing restlessly over the heads of the dead, in search of new landscapes and unknown accents; a wind that smells of baby’s spittle, crushed grass, a jellyfish veil, announcing the constant baptism of newly created things.’[12]

The duende is the ‘mysterious force that everyone feels and no philosopher has explained,’ and ‘draws close to places where forms fuse in a yearning beyond visible expression.' The duende, of course, appealed to folklorist Hamish Henderson as an idea that contained all that he found difficult to express about the inexpressible and elemental qualities of traditional folk culture.[13] Henderson noted that in Scotland, the Travellers have an expression which corresponds with the duende - the conyach – which is used to describe the intangible creative power which can release the affective power of a song or tune.[14]

We might say we are ‘deeply moved’ by such an experience. The metaphorical expression ‘moved’ is semantically related to ‘motion,’ which suggests a kind of journey or transformation. It is also related, interestingly, to ‘emotion.’ This raises the question of experienced subjectivity: the human capacity to feel and to be aware of that which is being felt as being meaningful and significant. The term ‘deeply’ is based on the belief that human meanings exist not on a single plane but on a spectrum, ranging from the trivial to the profound. The new position to which we are moved, metaphorically, is ‘deep.’ The metaphorical use of ‘depth’ suggests something that cannot be seen clearly when we are positioned at the surface - something perhaps only surmised or fathomed vaguely, leaving room for ambiguity and imagination. When that which is hidden is suddenly seen, we are struck by meanings resonant with a sense of that which is most real to us: our consciousness of ourselves as being in and of the world. It is on these occasions that we become aware, if only fleetingly, that we are here, that we are alive, that we are together, that we are connected.

Into the Field

To begin to understand the creative process of meaning making in the case of the ‘ballad experience’, my ethnological enquiry was rooted in the tradition of European hermeneutic phenomenology.[15] Phenomenology is a research method that attends to the affective dimension of our embodied experience; hermeneutics is concerned with how we interpret and express our subjective lived experience in and through language in a process of meaning-making.

What is the relationship between our embodied experience and perception, and the language we use to express it? Is it possible to express essential reality in human language? I came later to discover that ‘these are the very questions of geopoetics’, as outlined by Tony McManus in his book The Radical Field.[16]

In truth, I found the experience of academic research both thrilling and strangely alienating; alienating in the sense that, in such an intensely cerebral environment, I felt disconnected from my own body. I discovered that it is quite possible to grasp or comprehend a philosophical concept but not understand it, bodily. Theoretical explanations quickly become removed from lived reality and from the infinitely rich encounters that cause us to want to think more deeply about our experience in the first place. In geopoetics, I found a way to reconcile - or perhaps reconnect, in a way that made sense to me - the rigour of cerebral, analytic work with the experience of being a body in the world. For me, this is what geopoetics was first about: seeking awareness and understanding both intellectually, by developing knowledge, and sensitively, ‘using all our senses to become attuned to the world.’[17]

I visualise geopoetics as the rigorous pursuit of clarity of thought, chasing those flashes of insight, creativity and connection, but always grounded in my embodied, aesthetic experience of being-in-the-world. It requires a slowing down, a time for quiet reflection, and paying close attention. I can remember the very moment geopoetics first made sense to me. I was on an escape from academia to Oldshoremore beach in North West Sutherland, just south of Cape Wrath. The experience of being in this open, lunar, treeless landscape is, for me, like pressing a giant re-set button. I was out for a barefoot walk along the beach one evening when the setting sun hit the water, and remembered White's poem, 'A High Blue Day on Scalpay':

this is the summit of contemplation, and
     no art can touch it
blue, so blue, the far-out archipelago
     and the sea shimmering, shimmering
no art can touch it, the mind can only
     try to become attuned to it
to become quiet and space itself out, to
     become open and still, unworlded
knowing itself in the diamond country, in
    the ultimate unlettered light.[18]

This is a phenomenological poem: it is a poetic manifestation of elemental experience, literal and concrete as it is abstract and metaphorical. Here, ‘the power of the simple strikes through to a place of primordial selving where…we are reattuned to the otherness of the startling cosmos’.[19]

Being-between: a transformation in thinking

‘Why does one study?’ asks Kenneth White. ‘To become unlettered’.[20] Geopoetics endeavours to get at this trackless space, this ‘unlettered light.’ Like Merleau-Ponty’s phenomenological ‘radical reflection’[21] or Heidegger’s hermeneutic drive ‘to get back to the beginning of thought’[22], geopoetics requires an openness and readiness to both recognise and consciously abandon inherited concepts, philosophical assumptions, cultural baggage, language and discourse, to decolonise the mind, to ‘clear the way’ for a direct encounter of with the world. It is a process of radical unlearning. Such a ‘transformation in thinking’ requires a ‘mindfulness transcending instrumental reason, to a renewing of our being in the middle.’[23]

In order to think nomadically, the middle point is the point from which to begin. The task of White’s intellectual nomad, his ‘poet-thinker,’ is to traverse both a landscape and a mindscape to get back to a moment more primordial, the moment before our present thought-forms, in order to grasp something essential, elemental. From this new ground, this entre-deux, new ideas can emerge. This is what White means by grounding a new anthropology:

‘One could say that it concerns a new mental cartography, a conception of life disengaged at last from ideologies, myths, religions etc. and the search for a language capable of expressing this other way of being in the world, but making it clear from the start that this is a question of rapport with the earth (energies, rhythms, forms) not a subjugation to the Nature (Romantic). I’m talking about the search (from place to place, step by step) for a poetics situtated, or, rather, moving outside the established systems of representation…’[24]

We find this approach to life, for example, in Nan Shepherd, who writes exquisitely of those ‘moments on the mountain’ when she is ‘not bedevilled by thought,’ ‘living in one sense at a time to live all the way through’.[25] Such moments come most often, she writes, when ‘waking out of outdoor sleep, gazing tranced at the running of the water and listening to its song.’

For me, these ‘moments’ most often come in musical experience, in shared spaces and intimate settings, particularly listening to the old songs. Rilke said it: existence is song (Dasein ist Gesang).[26] Irish philosopher William Desmond reflects on the ancient power of traditional song in the following quote:

‘Listening to the old ballads we sometimes here the elemental – so simple, so elegant, so powerful – yet without insistence – as if singers were more directly in touch with something irreducible …For the elemental is just its simple being.’[27]

The experience of singing is a profound experience of coming into embodied being. Speaking from my own experience, on certain occasions, I am so focused on singing a song that I experience the sensation of becoming my voice. This could be described or understood as form of ex-stasis. Paradoxically, during this experience, we become more aware of ourselves as being a body, while at the same time, our awareness requires us to be outside of ourselves. In singing, we become aware of our own otherness. This is the experience of being between.

In returning to the elemental, we find a breakthrough in the interstices, a way to ‘think our way through’ with liminal freedom. The very meaning of the word ‘hermeneutic’ is tied up with this idea of ‘being between.’ The word can be traced back to the myth of Greek figure Hermes, a sort of shaman — spirit of the gaps, god of boundaries and roads, music and playful thought. To exist hermeneutically is to stands in this gap between past and present, this zone of ‘world-disclosure'.[28]

As McManus explains, this is where White’s interest in the figure of the shaman lies.[29] The shaman can access this state of between-ness by standing (or moving) outside the socio-historical context to ‘penetrate deep into the territory of perception, deep into participation in the earth’ in order to bring back those elemental experiences and perceptions back to the community.[30] White sees the shaman as a myth-metaphor for a figure with a role in society that goes beyond the narrow understanding of ‘the artist’ that we have today (as ‘reflector of the state of things,’ inside a closed circle), to something deeper – an ability to maintain an open contact between the socio-human context and the world. What the shaman as a metaphor points to is an art, a creation, a poesis, which draws on that liminal space in order to open up new perceptions. It is from this marginal zone that the great artists, writers, and social critics have been able to look past the prevailing social forms in order to see from the outside and to bring back insights from beyond it. That is to say, artists are able to keep the ‘between’ live in ways others do not.

A Creative Ethnology: every man is an artist

The shaman is both the ‘great outsider’ who sees things from a distance and, as custodian of archaic images and themes of original cosmic perception, also the great ‘whole-holder’. In many ways, ethnology shares something of that shamanic ability to see things whole from a distance, to ‘keep the whole in view’, in order to suggest how we might transform ourselves.[31] An education in ethnology does more than furnish us with knowledge; it educates our perception of the world and opens our eyes and minds to other possibilities of being. In Merleau-Ponty’s understanding,

‘We become ethnologists of our own society if we distance ourselves from it…[This is] a way of thinking that demands that we transform ourselves.’[32]

As both Kockel and Walters have discussed,[33] the German artist Joseph Beuys believed that the birth right of all human beings is our capacity to shape society - to transform and be transformed by it. Beuys argued that we must bring our whole selves – our intuition and imagination, as well as our rational thinking, our will – to a conscious, active participation in culture, a form of what he called ‘social sculpture.’ This is what he meant by his famous words ‘everyone is an artist.’ This understanding of the artist appeals to an expanded anthropological notion of culture and creativity. ‘Culture’ is understood here not as a category of sociological enquiry but rather as a process, constantly reshaping in new and meaningful forms.[34] In White’s view, culture is ‘the way human beings conceive of, work at and direct themselves.’ If 'agri-culture means working at a field to produce the best crop,' he writes, then ‘human culture means working at the most harmonious growth of the individual.’ Transformation, then, is at the heart of culture, which is itself a continuous process of renewal. Culture has a direction, a sense of the ‘horizon of the possible’.[35]

White’s call for a ‘poetic anthropology’ suggests a creative approach to fieldwork, much like the artistic process.[36] For some, the creative potential of ethnology is about finding more imaginative ways to share our research through creative output, such as performance or creative writing; for others the potential is in its interdisciplinarity: how we engage in vital dialogue – cultivating ‘sympathy, synthesis and synergy’ –  with other fields, such as ecology or the arts.[37] This is not simply a question of drawing on the creativity of ‘the artist’; there is a sense too in which we must become artists ourselves. Like Beuys’ social sculpture, as creative fieldworkers, ‘we make the field, but the field also makes us’.

‘As we come to terms with the fact that [we] make, and are made by, the field that [we] study, [we] have a choice: either retreat into the safe realm of pure cultural theory, or get to grips with the messy business of trying to navigate the morphogenetic cultural field as it changes shape under [our] very hands.’[38]


From Thought to Action: radical transformations

It is vital to recognise the political dimension of our work. As ethnologists, we undertake studies with and alongside and with the people we work with. Many ethnologists consciously engage in different forms of cultural and political work – for example, in consciousness raising, advocacy and social change.[39] As practitioners in the field, we dig where we stand; our own personal roots, as well as our own local place, are vital to our theory-practice. How we choose to write about the world constitutes a deeply political choice, and we cannot escape our potential effects on the people or communities around us (effects which are inescapably political).

As Kockel has observed, many ethnologists are motivated by concerns ‘not unlike those that have inspired the work of artists, poets, theologians and campaigners’.[40] These shared concerns include a desire to create and to connect, to seek and share knowledge, to raise awareness, to challenge the use of power, to bring people together, to search for meaning, to imagine and make manifest new ways of thinking and being. Speaking personally, an ethnological being-in-the-world also speaks to the need for an activist orientation in practice.

What, then, might be possible if we approached our ethnological theory-practice with an open, geopoetic mind?

As part of his project ‘Earth Writing,’ anarchist geographer Simon Springer argues for a theoretically informed, critically reflective scholar-activism that boldly embraces geopoetics.[41] In defence of any anti-intellectual accusation of ‘esotericism,’ he argues passionately that we need theory for meaningful action as much we need meaningful action to refine our theories:

‘For activists to have any chance of success, we need to fill [our] lungs with the fresh air of creativity by living and breathing the ongoing, iterative process of theory and action.’[42]

For Springer, geopoetics demands praxis.[43] This is because a geopoetic worldview allows us to ‘replace the hubris that so often attaches itself to academia, with a modesty and humility that brings us into greater contact with the world’, by venturing into the ‘unchartable terrain that is the mystery of life’ and by acknowledging the ‘hidden enfolded immensities,’  ‘sheer physical messiness,’ and the ‘sticky materiality of practical encounters’ that can never be captured, pinned down, or fully understood.[44] He writes,

‘When we approach praxis with an open, geopoetic mind that “expresses reality in different ways … [through] combinations of different art forms” … a material space for radical transformation might follow. Possibility becomes possible.’[45]

This is why geopoetics is vitally important: it can be directed to align our bearings with different kinds of deep poetic, cultural and political work, where ‘the scope of theory and the hope of creativity collide in kaleidoscope’.[46]

Cultural Renewal: a live, lasting culture

In a series of essays on the theme of cultural renewal,[47] White calls for the need to ‘reground’, to reconnect with ground on which we stand:

‘A country begins with a ground, a geology. When it loses contact with that, it’s no longer a country at all. It’s just a supermarket, Disneyland or a madhouse’.[48] 

Geopoetics, in pursuit of this ground, traces structures, ideas, themes, expressions, lifelines back to the archaic landscape, and forwards into possible developments, outside and beyond the discourse of any Celtic Romanticism, nationalism or identity ideology. Crucially, White was seeking a local grounding for this new world-view. This is not nationalist and provincial, but parochial in the most expansive sense of the word. Parochial is universal: it deals with the fundamentals. By placing cultural elements in a wider context, we give them greater scope. In the words of Irish poet Patrick Kavanagh,

‘To know fully even one field or one land is a lifetime’s experience. In the world of poetic experience, it is depth that counts, not width.’[49]

To extend the hermeneutic metaphor, in order find a country other than its stereotyped image, we must grasp the elements of culture and make ‘renewed contact with the landscape’.[50] ‘We need minds’, writes White, that that can draw the ‘significant lines together - through geography, history, culture - and open up new ways of ‘inhabiting the Earth’ in this place:

‘At surface level, [cultural renewal] is a question of politics. At a deeper level, it’s a question of poetics…If you get politics and poetics coming together, you can begin to think that you’ve got something like a live, lasting culture.’[51]

This, to me, is the role of the creative ethnologist as artist-philosopher, as poet-thinker, as cultural activist: to ‘draw the significant lines together,’ to ‘reconnect poetics and politics,’ to push culture forwards, developed with, not against, the past. Kockel talks of ethnology as ‘engaged toposophy’,[52] a way to release ‘the wisdom that sits in places’.[53] It is field-work. Poetic work.

Ethnology strives for an overview of the field, but - much like the experience of singing - we must both stand outside and be immersed in this work. As a cultural project, a geopoetic creative ethnology can inspire a radical process and re-engagement with a broader and deeper understanding of culture in this place, not by looking back and re-performing fixed heritage, but by generating new meanings. This is also an ethical project. One reaction to our current situation, often in an attempt to ‘re-connect with the earth,’ is the embrace and appropriation of pick ’n’ mix world folk cultures devoid of any context, knowledge or understanding. This pursuit is, in effect, a form of un-reflected colonialism. While we may be able to create sustainable ways of living out of bits and pieces selected from diverse cultures across the globe, it would be wholly unwise to attempt this without first understanding these elements in their original contexts (and appreciating the consequences of taking them out of those contexts). As ethnologists, we must work towards developing a shared reflexivity and respectful, cultural awareness.

Geopoetics calls for poeisis – the making, gathering, the bringing together. As ethnologists, as ‘artists of the everyday’, we must bring our whole selves to a conscious, active participation in culture. We must find ways to ‘rekindle those transformative powers which are vital, not only in order for social, revolutionary change to occur, but to confront the challenges of the future'.[54] The affective force of our aesthetic experience helps us articulate new ideas. A greater responsiveness to the world engenders a keener sense of ethical responsibility towards it. This is where possibility becomes possible. As Tony McManus mused:

‘Perhaps, eventually, a movement might arise which could revolutionise society, not from a standpoint under a banner (this is always exploited by a power group or class) but on the basis of knowledge and awareness – individuals sharing a grounding, living a shared culture of perception.’[55]

To be truly creative in our field of endeavour, we need to bring this ‘sensitive awareness and openness to the world’ and engage in ways that promote a joyful, enlivened, connected state of being. This is to participate in our collective human attempt to find meaning in its fullest realisation. Such a way of being has potential to re-energise individuals and develop a grounded, live, lasting culture that is connected to the world.

With thanks to Ullrich Kockel and David Francis from the National Council of Geopoetics for reading early drafts of this essay and offering thoughts and advice. 


[1] As ethnologist Ullrich Kockel explains, ‘the theoretical basis…lies not in any singular discipline, but rather…in the interaction of different approaches to commons issues, the culture and life-style of a particular land and is people.' See: The Catharsis of European Ethnology Borderline Cases: The Ethnic Frontiers of European Integration. 1999, p79

[2] Gary West writes that ethnology and folklore can be viewed as ‘non-identical twins within a family of disciplines that study the culture of humanity.’ See: Voicing Scotland: Folk, Culture, Nation. 2012, p36.

[3] Ullrich Kockel argues that a ‘guarded approach’ is required in the use of ethnology, ‘a discipline which stood at the cradle of (romantic) nationalism and identity politics, with all their subsequent excesses that it often served to legitimise.’ See: Borderline Cases: The Ethnic Frontiers of European Integration. 1999, p77

[4] Although the term ‘creative ethnology’ has been used in the past, it acquired wider currency and meaning following Gary West’s inaugural lecture as Personal Chair in Scottish Ethnology, ‘Performing Oral Testimony: Towards a Creative Ethnology for the 21st Century' at the University of Edinburgh, November 30th 2016. 

[5] Kenneth White, The Wanderer and his Charts: Essays on Cultural Renewal. 2004, p145; emphasis added

[6] Norman Bissell, ‘Atlantic Poetics: Expanding Our Sense of World,’ Stravaig 3: Geopoetics in Practice. 2013, p5; emphasis added

[7] Neil Gunn, Highland River. 1937, p48

[8]Neil Gunn, Atom of Delight. 1956, p8

[9] Mairi McFadyen, ‘The Space Between is Where the Maysie Lives: Presence, Imagination and Experience in the Traditional Ballad,’ University of Edinburgh. 2012

[10] Personal fieldwork, 2009

[11] Mark Johnson, The Meaning of the Body: Aesthetics of Human Understanding. 2007

[12] Fredercio Garcia Lorca, ‘Theory and Play of the Duende.’ 1933

[13] Hamish Henderson, Alias MacAlias: Writings of Songs, Folk and Literature. 2002 (1992)

[14] Listen to Hamish Henderson, Belle and Sheila Stewart discuss the conyach on Tobar an Dualchais/Kist O Riches here:

[15] See, for example, Frykman & Gilje, Being There: New Perspectives on Phenomenology and the Analysis of Culture. 2003

[16] Tony McManus, The Radical Field: Kenneth White and Geopoetics. 2007, p148.

[17] Norman Bissell, ‘What is geopoetics?’ 1989. See:

[18] Kenneth White, Open World:The Collected Poems 1960 – 2000.

[19] William Desmond, Philosophy and Its Others: Ways of Being and Mind. 1990, p275

[20] Quoted in article ‘White Power,’ 2003.

[21] Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Phenomenology of Perception. 1945

[22] Martin Heidegger, On the Way to Language. 1959

[23] William Desmond, Philosophy and Its Others: Ways of Being and Mind .1990, p275

[24] Translated in Tony McManus, The Radical Field: Kenneth White and Geopoetics. 2007 p74

[25] Nan Shepherd, Letter to Neill Gunn, 1940

[26] Quoted in William Desmond, Philosophy and Its Others: Ways of Being and Mind. 1990 p270

[27] Ibid p275

[28] Martin Heidegger, On the Way to Language. 1959

[29] Kenneth White, ‘A Shaman Dancing on the Glacier,’ On Scottish Ground: Selected Essays. 1998, pp35 - 48

[30] Tony McManus, The Radical Field: Kenneth White and Geopoetics. 2007 p73

[31] Konrad Kostlin, ‘The Passion for the Whole: Interpreted Modernity or Modernity as Interpretation.’ The Journal of American Folklore Vol. 110, No. 437 (Summer, 1997), pp. 260-276

[32] Merleau-Ponty, Signes. 1960, p150

[33] Victoria Walters, Joseph Beuys and the Celtic Wor(l)d, 2012; Ullrich Kockel, ‘Morphogenetic Fieldwork and the Ethnologic of Toposophy: Mediation on a Coyote Wandering on Rannoch Moor’ Beuysian Legacies in Ireland and Beyond: Art, Culture and Politics 2011

[34]For example, see Tim Ingold, Being Alive: Essays on Movement, Knowledge and Description. 2011

[35]Kenneth White, The Wanderer and his Charts: Essays on Cultural Renewal. 2004, p245

[36] Quoted in Ullrich Kockel, ‘Morphogenetic Fieldwork and the Ethnologic of Toposophy: Mediation on a Coyote Wandering on Rannoch Moor’ Beuysian Legacies in Ireland and Beyond: Art, Culture and Politics (eds) Christa-Maria Lerm-Hayes, Victoria Walters, 2011, p207

[37] Ullrich Kockel ,‘Liberating the Ethnological Imagination,’ Ethnologia Europaea: Journal of European Ethnology 38:1 2008, p8

[38] Ullrich Kockel, ‘Morphogenetic Fieldwork and the Ethnologic of Toposophy: Mediation on a Coyote Wandering on Rannoch Moor’ Beuysian Legacies in Ireland and Beyond: Art, Culture and Politics (eds) Christa-Maria Lerm-Hayes, Victoria Walters, 2011 p205

[39] See for example, Local Voices CIC

[40] Ullrich Kockel, Re-Visioning Europe: Frontiers, Place Identities and Journeys in Debatable Lands. 2010, p184

[41] Simon Springer, ‘Earth Writing,’ GeoHumanities, 2017. 3:1, 1-19

[42] Ibid, p15

[43] Ibid, p9; emphasis added.

[44] Simon Springer, ‘Human geography without hierarchy.’ Progress in Human Geography, 2014. 38 (3): 402–19 p410

[45] Simon Springer, (2017) Earth Writing, GeoHumanities, 3:1, 1-19 p16; emphasis added

[46] Ibid, p4

[47] Kenneth White, The Wanderer and his Charts: Essays on Cultural Renewal. 2004,

[48] Kenneth White, ‘The Re-Mapping of Scotland,’ in The Wanderer and his Charts: Essays on Cultural Renewal. 2004

[49] Patrick Kavanagh, ‘The Parish and the Universe.’ Collected Pruse. 1973

[50] Kenneth White, ‘Scotland, History and the Writer,’ On Scottish Ground: Selected Essays. 1998, p157

[51] Kenneth White, ‘The Re-Mapping of Scotland,’ The Wanderer and his Charts: Essays on Cultural Renewal. 2004, p197

[52] Ullrich Kocklel European Ethnology as Engaged Toposophy.’ Identity Politics: Histories, Regions and Borderlands: Acta Historica Universitatis Klaipedensis XIX, Studia Anthropologica III, 2009, 147–163

[53] Keith Basso, Wisdom Sits in Places: Language and Landscape. 1996

[54] Victoria Walters, Joseph Beuys and the Celtic Wor(l)d. 2012. p348

[55] Tony McManus, The Radical Field: Kenneth White and Geopoetics. 2007

Mairi McFadyen1 Comment