Culture and the Urban Stage

The Nexus of Setting, Behavior, and Image in Urban Places
  • Miles Richardson
Part of the Human Behavior and Environment book series (HUBE, volume 4)


Although a product of the same impersonal, natural process that brought forth the earthworm and the eagle, the amoeba and the dinosaur, man moves about within a personal, artificial world that he himself has built. The paradox of nature’s giving birth to a supranatural creature is central to our lives, and the constant search for its meaning a characteristic of our species (Becker, 1973, 1975; Eiseley, 1969). On the one hand, we view nature ambiguously. Are we in nature, or out of it? Are the animals our brothers, or are we their keepers, indeed their masters? Is our natural body, with its noises, smells, and impulses, a part of our highest aspirations, or is it something to be covered up, kept from view, and excused when it indelicately intrudes into our conversations? Is death nature’s ultimate reality? Or can we construct a self that is tough enough to transcend this biological event? On the other hand, we find ourselves in a similar ambiguous state when we seek to relate to our fellow humans. Unhooked from many of the genetically keyed responses that form the natural, social world of other creatures, we respond to each other through the medium of arbitrary symbols. Through this medium we communicate in a way no other animal can. We can, in a literal sense, talk about our selves.


American Sociological Review Cultural Landscape Garden City Social Place Material Setting 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1980

Authors and Affiliations

  • Miles Richardson
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Geography and AnthropologyLouisiana State UniversityBaton RougeUSA

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