Title

Xeriscape people and the cultural politics of turfgrass transformation.

SelectedWorks Author Profiles:

Rebecca (Johns) Krishnaswami

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

2010

Date Issued

2010-01-01

Date Available

2014-07-02

ISSN

0263-7758

Abstract

Turfgrass yards dominate the residential landscapes of St Petersburg, Florida, and much of the rest of the urban and suburban United States. Increasingly, alternatives to the resource-intensive turfgrass lawn are the focus of interest among environmentalists, state and county governments, and growing numbers of residents in cities in the water-scarce Southeast and Southwest. Drawing on ethnographic and survey field research on everyday yard practices, resource use, and landscape perceptions, we explore the environmental and cultural dilemmas presented by the choice between conventional turfgrass and the more environmentally benign xeriscaping. We engage with Bourdieu's notions of habitus, field, and distinction to explore how local and personal scale yards, as produced and consumed technonatures, mediate the scales of global environmentalism, national and regional cultural identities, classed aesthetics, and personal and collective security. We find that xeriscaping does not increase proportionate to income. We argue that yards are a display of cultural capital and that xeriscapers are invested in an environmentalist field that operates at an imagined global scale as opposed to the neighborhood and national scale values invoked with the traditional turfgrass lawn. Referring to Bourdieu's work on taste and distinction, we argue that xeriscaped landscapes may entail a more environmentally benign set of landscaping practices but that the adoption of xeriscaping is no less implicated in the reproduction of privilege and distinction than is the traditional turfgrass lawn.

Comments

Abstract only. Full-text article is available only through licensed access provided by the publisher. Published in Environment and Planning D: Society and Space, 28(4), 600 - 617. DOI: 10.1068/d13108

Language

en_US

Publisher

Pion Ltd.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.