Echo, desire, and the grounds of knowledge: a mytho-poetic assessment of Buttimer's Geography and the Human Spirit.
Environment and Planning D: Society and Space, 12(4),
In Geography and the Human Spirit, Buttimer argues that the history of geographical concern is marked by cyclical time, which is distinguished by three phases: Phoenix, Faust, and Narcissus. By taking a longer look at one of these myths, Narcissus, it is possible to suggest that Buttimer bases her account on some problematic assumptions. Thus, the figure of Echo, absent from Buttimer's telling of the myth, can return to disrupt her story. This mytho-poetic assess ment reveals something of the way in which 'others' are constituted in her story: I take this erasure to be symptomatic of an 'othering' humanism, which is predicated on the other, but considers itself self-grounded and thereby distances itself from others. The conclusion questions Buttimer's universalism, her concept of cyclical time, and her sense of a liberation cry of humanism. I suggest that an emancipatory geography cannot rely on undisclosed and marginalized 'others', in this case represented by the figure of Echo.
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