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David Charles Harvey

Ambiguities of the hedge: an exercise in creative pleaching - of moments, memories and meanings

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This paper reviews a range of published material on the English hedgerow, and its ambiguous role in both landscape history and contemporary countryside management. While there is a strand of recent landscape history scholarship that can be stridently critical of the hedge as a ‘technology of subjection’, connected invariably with Parliamentary enclosure and proletarianisation, the English hedgerow is also an iconic symbol of rural tranquillity, and mainstay of many conservation and biodiversity agendas, with hedge-laying — – the practice of constructing a living hedge — championed as a key item of rural craft heritage. Making space for a dynamic biography of hedges and hedge-laying, and reflecting on an auto-ethnographic account of working on a particular hedge in Warwickshire, the this paper explores the possibilities for an account of hedgerows that can steer a pathway between narratives that are critical of hedges-as-enclosure, and a conservation ambition that might seem to preserve hedges in aspic.
Original languageEnglish
JournalLandscape History
Pages (from-to)109-127
Number of pages19
Publication statusPublished - 2017

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