Thursday, December 4, 2014

An operational definition of “sense of place”


“Sense of place” is operationally defined is an affective bond between people and place or setting (Steele, 1981). Fisherman who survived the tsunami are consistently saying that they want to return to the sea. They identify their experience as “love”, “freedom” or “challenge.”  It is really something that we create ourselves in the course of time (Jackson, 1994). It is the result of habit or custom and it is reinforced by a series of recurring events.

Hummon (1992) defines sense of place as a subjective perceptions and feelings that people have of their environment.  Sense of place has a dual nature, on the one hand it interprets the environment, and on the other  there is an emotional reaction to the environment. Hutton indicates that “sense of place involves a personal orientation toward place, in which one’s understanding of place, and one’s feelings about place become fused in the context of environmental meaning.”

Table for relationships to place, type of bond and process


Type of bond



Historical and familial

Birth and living in a place, develops overtime.


Emotional and intangible

Feeling a sense of belonging, simply felt rather than created.


Moral and ethical

Responsibility to place, guidelines may be religious or secular.



Learning about a place through stories, including: creation myths, family histories, political accounts, and fictional accounts.


Cognitive (based on choice and desirability

Choosing a place based on a list of desirable traits and lifestyle preferences, comparison of actual places with an ideal.



Constrained by lack of choice, dependency on another person or the government, and a changing economic opportunity.

[1]. The strongest and most enduring relationships are based on the strong identification with the place and relative long residence. Bibliographical relationships require time to develop, and are strongest in communities in which one has spent more time. Spending time in a place creates memories and experiences, which become part of a person’s individual and community identity.

[2].  People identify their relation to place in an intuitive sense which is difficult to measures. These are intuitive connections, which express a sense of belonging, sometimes mystical and intangible.

[3].  A weel articulated ideology about how to life in a place (ie. Religious communities or ethnic enclaves).

[4].  We grow up with stories of a palce which teaches us about the history and our relationship to that history. You grow up speaking the same language, listening to stories about neighbors, trees, rocks and other parts of the eenvironment within our sight. (ie. Family histories, fictional accounts, local lore, moral tales, national myths, and political accounts.)

[5].  Choice defines this characteristic. The ability to choose a place with the best possible combination of desirable features. The comodified relationship is related to dissatisfaction with one community and the quest to find a more desirable place. These relationships are more cognitive and physical than emotional (ie. Displaced person by a disaster).

[6].   Dependent  relationships. Typically these relationships are the result of having either no choice  or severe limitation on choice (ie. Children that who are dependent on therir parents, or elderly who move close to the caretakers, or a person that moves to a different job because of romantic attachments.

No comments:

Post a Comment