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Hearing the silence: finding the middle ground in the spatial humanities? Extracting and comparing perceived silence and tranquillity in the English Lake District


Chesnokova, Olga; Taylor, Joanna E; Gregory, Ian N; Purves, Ross S (2018). Hearing the silence: finding the middle ground in the spatial humanities? Extracting and comparing perceived silence and tranquillity in the English Lake District. International Journal of Geographical Information Science:Epub ahead of print.

Abstract

We analyse silence and tranquillity in historical and contemporary corpora to understand ways landscapes were—and are—perceived in the Lake District National Park in England. Through macro and microreading we develop a taxonomy of aural experiences, and explore how changes to categories of silence from our taxonomy—for instance, the overall decline in mentions of absolute silence—provide clues to changes in the landscape and soundscape of the Lake District. Modern authors often contrast silence with anthropogenic sounds, while historical authors adhere to a cultural construction where the Lake District is presented as a tranquil area by ignoring industrial sounds. Using sentiment analysis we show that silence and tranquil sounds in our corpora are, as a whole, more positively associated than random text from the corpora, with this difference being especially marked in contemporary descriptions. Focusing closely on individual texts allows us to illustrate how this increased positivity can be related to the emergence of silence and tranquillity as valuable components of landscape. Mapping our corpora confirmed the influence of Wordsworth’s writing on descriptions of silence; and revealed the co-location of pockets of tranquillity near to transport arteries in contemporary descriptions.

Abstract

We analyse silence and tranquillity in historical and contemporary corpora to understand ways landscapes were—and are—perceived in the Lake District National Park in England. Through macro and microreading we develop a taxonomy of aural experiences, and explore how changes to categories of silence from our taxonomy—for instance, the overall decline in mentions of absolute silence—provide clues to changes in the landscape and soundscape of the Lake District. Modern authors often contrast silence with anthropogenic sounds, while historical authors adhere to a cultural construction where the Lake District is presented as a tranquil area by ignoring industrial sounds. Using sentiment analysis we show that silence and tranquil sounds in our corpora are, as a whole, more positively associated than random text from the corpora, with this difference being especially marked in contemporary descriptions. Focusing closely on individual texts allows us to illustrate how this increased positivity can be related to the emergence of silence and tranquillity as valuable components of landscape. Mapping our corpora confirmed the influence of Wordsworth’s writing on descriptions of silence; and revealed the co-location of pockets of tranquillity near to transport arteries in contemporary descriptions.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Institute of Geography
08 Research Priority Programs > Language and Space
Dewey Decimal Classification:910 Geography & travel
Uncontrolled Keywords:Landscape, tranquillity, temporal changes, text analysis
Language:English
Date:10 December 2018
Deposited On:28 Dec 2018 07:12
Last Modified:17 Sep 2019 19:48
Publisher:Taylor & Francis
ISSN:1365-8816
OA Status:Green
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1080/13658816.2018.1552789
Project Information:
  • : FunderFP7
  • : Grant ID283850
  • : Project TitleSPATIALHUMANITIES - Bringing GIS to the Digital Humanities: Defining the Spatial Humanities
  • : FunderSNSF
  • : Grant ID200021E-166788
  • : Project TitleExtraction and visually driven analysis of geography and dynamics of people's reaction to events

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