Maastiku ja kultuuri keskus

The working group of the Tallinn University Centre for Landscape and Culture aims at progressing landscape theory, problem-solving approaches and contributions to landscape and management and planning. The goal is to facilitate both the application of landscape research to practice, and the feedback from practice into research.

We contribute to the following fields of research:

  1. Combining the models of phenomenological and semiotic meaning making and applying it to landscape theory. 
  2. Introducing cultural heritage and the meaning making of heritage into landscape research. 
  3. Time layers and transitions between the layers – the interplay of changes and persistence. 
  4. Boundaries in the context of rural-urban interface – how much the past is known, conceptualised and appreciated. Often the practices of the previous are carried on into the new situation, and the link with the place becomes important. The concept linking all landscape practices is adaptation.
  5. Cultural sustainability – either the fourth pillar of sustainability or an overarching concept that covers the three other pillars – studies may lead to better understanding of the role culture plays in landscape and vice versa. The working group has been working on developing a broad understanding of rupture as a strategic opening on the study of complex interactions between landscape, value, history, identity and social life. The aim has been to question established theories regarding the relationship between social change and landscape change.


Hannes Palang, Head of the Centre

PostiaadressUus-Sadama 5, 10120 Tallinn

Telefon(+372) 640 9557


Ongoing Projects

Culturescapes in transformation: towards an integrated theory of meaning making

Hannes Palang

The main objective of the project is to approach the ‘travelling concepts’ of spatiality, textuality, and nation from the point of view of cultural meaning-making processes. The very site of meaning-making is viewed as culturescape – the web of collectively shared practices of meaning-formation that embraces the production, distribution, consumption and preservation of collectively shared meanings. Our intent is to understand how the old and new ways of meaning-making negotiate their positions in transforming the culturescape. Our intent is also to integrate approaches from various disciplines in order to propose an epistemological strategy for understanding culture-dependent meaning-formation processes that are at work in our everyday life and that constitute the way things and events are experienced by human beings in their corresponding cultural contexts.

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Urban Walkscapes: Socio-Material Assemblages of Pedestrian Practices and Regulations in Tallinn, Estonia

Tauri Tuvikene

This human geographical project aims to better understand the ways in which legal and social norms of urban walking relate to one another in physical and socio-cultural landscape. While ‘walking studies’ has rapidly expanded over the last decade, looking into different conditions of walking as well as embodied practices of walking, not much social research attention has yet been paid to the very mundane and regular governing practices that target the ways in which pedestrian activity is carried out. This project takes further my doctoral research finding that governing is never a simple procedure: rather, it has to deal with materiality of regulations and social norms influenced by socio-cultural and historical sentiments. The project uses landscape as a concept that brings together material, visual, embodied and socio-legal aspects to investigate these questions in urban environments. Walkscapes, as conceptualised here, are meshworks of walking practices, environments and understandings of how, where and when it is proper to walk.

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The political economy of industrial health and safety: a social anthropology perspective

Eeva Kesküla

The project asks why industrial accidents and injuries happen and how they are socially produced. It proposes a social anthropology approach to the study of links between Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) and industrial injury in mining. The project draws on political economy perspective assuming that OHS is never neutral but socially and historically constructed in the struggle between capital and labour. It takes a step further by suggesting that the focus should not be only on the labour process but the wider relations and world views of communities and corporations and the political-economy frame should be complemented by the study of everyday practices. New methodologies drawing on medical anthropology and study of trauma will be developed in order to study the sensitive topic. The research will use participant observation, survey and interviewing in a comparative study of two mines in Estonia and Kazakhstan to explore the social production of OHS and injuries.

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Tarmo Pikner

In a nutshell, SustainBaltic is targeting to: Four ICZM case plans from Estonia (2) and Finland (2), which are produced based on the current spatial data on ecological, land use and human activities. The novelty approach of SustainBaltic is on the close co-working in order to define the most crucial ICZM planning criteria to be utilised and implemented further in Central Baltic Programme area.

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Cultural change and conflict: a theoretical model

Rein Raud

The goal of this project is to develop a model of cultural changes and conflicts, based on the methodology introduced in my book "Meaning in Action: Outline of an Integral Theory of Culture". As a result of globalization, many essentially positive processes such as democratization, decolonization, infotechnological progress etc. have jointly brought about an overflow of information. The institutions meant to handle it, however, are unable to cope with the situation. On the other hand, the growing inequality and insecurity that has been caused by current economic and political developments as well as ecological problems have set in motion large flows of migration and simultaneously inspired an upsurge of xenophobia and nationalism in many parts of the “first world”. These issues cannot be adequately analyzed only in terms of social processes, which is why I intend to develop a model that examines them in the context of the internal dynamics of the cultural field.

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