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ERIC Number: EJ999665
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2012-Dec
Pages: 8
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 8
ISSN: ISSN-0155-2147
The Idea of Place: Reading for Pleasure and the Workings of Power
Midalia, Susan
English in Australia, v47 n3 p44-51 Dec 2012
Place: what a great theme for an English teacher's conference, in this official Year of Reading. It's such a conceptually rich and emotionally resonant topic through which to explore the many pleasures and challenges of reading; for teachers, and for students. For place is not only a physical location; it is also a powerful idea and a powerfully lived experience. People forge their various identities--familial, cultural, sexual, vocational--in particular places. Places also have histories. Place can also be about the pleasure of recognition. The fiction of Tim Winton and Robert Drewe, for example, relies heavily on this kind of appeal. Readers recognise a beach or river, coastline or street, and experience a sense of personal connection, even ownership. While this sense of recognition, which gives value to the local and regional, is an important means of contesting the cultural cringe, it is also a parochial and deeply reassuring kind of pleasure, and is surely one of the reasons for the enduring popularity of these writers. But books can also imaginatively transport individuals to unknown or unfamiliar places, and in so doing educate, exhilarate or utterly confound them. Representations of place are always perspectival, mediated by the observer's values, beliefs, history, his or her position in different systems of power. The ideological nature of place is a crucial issue, precisely because it raises these important ethical and political questions about identity.
Australian Association for the Teaching of English. English House, 416 Magill Road, Kensington Gardens, SA 5068 Australia. Tel: +61-8-8332-2845; Fax: +61-8-8333-0394; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Australia