[2012 Symposium_Discussion3]The Appeal of Local Regions:The Appeal of Local Regions

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The Appeal of Local Regions: from the Perspective of a Sense of Community

Sae-june Kim
Professor of Dept. of Culture and Tourism, Sookmyung Women’s University

Human beings meet the outer world and outer environments through subjective experiences (Dennis Cosgrove).

The cornerstone of historical studies stems from a responsible recognition of place and the arts is what is derived from that (Lawrence Grossberg).

Place turns humans into the subject through the means of confirming the depth of human freedom and substantiality while revealing the relations actual human existence has with the outside (Heidegger).

Memories of Physical, Psychological Places

The creativity of humans is a combined product in which the great lands, history, culture and place are made into forms. Artists are always seeking to create a new, hybrid culture, escaping from the one-way perspective of the dominant culture. Theories regarding place have been developed in the several areas of sociology, geography, symbology, anthropology and psychology, etc. and academic research is being undertaken on it. This is an attempt to create a region in the truest sense by making the quality of life richer through highlighting the cultural characteristics and identity of a certain place. If one examines the various definitions of place, it is said to be localized, to consist of nature and culture, is innate while there exists mutual relativity, possesses historicity by being formed, developed and by evolving, and is said to be a place of meaning; abstract spaces become a concrete place which is full of experiences and meaning through the people who use them, and everyday life is lived, social relations are formed and the significance of life is pursued. I.e., place is a segmented site of life in which people share experiences with others and possess meaning through a continuous interaction with space and time. The experiences and meanings of people are understood differently based on being of the public-a group-an individual-society or the world-country-local area-egion, long-term-mid-term-short-term (time). Therefore, place is a concept in which it is possible for a product of completed substance to change dynamically by the passage of time.

Sense of Place and Community

Meanwhile, a sense of place refers to the recognition of a place a person perceives, a concrete and real environment. Sense of place is explained through place attachment, place dependence and place identity, etc. and attachment here is defined as a psychological attitude, tendency, respect and emotional ties regarding a specific place. One sometimes gains an image from the physical environment through an object which stimulates memory. Dependency is the level of one’s cognition of being connected to a place. One raises hopes regarding potentially repeated place activities by elevating their preference. Identity is value regarding a place and can be formed through memory, thought and values, etc. and is sometimes formed through relations as in school, neighbors and the home. Place obtains its identity from people and people sometimes obtain their identities through places.

Regarding local communities in community psychology, research has been undertaken on degrees of participation, forms and emotions in terms of the friendships and solidarity between people, I.e., the network of social relations, and as a result it has been revealed that the characteristics of a community are changed based on scale and population density, and according to other research there is a claim that local communities are influenced by the individual’s life cycle, and institutional and regulatory dimensions. It is the theory that the local community is made of a complex netting as such and the level of attachment has been formed through conventions of great magnitude. Specifically, an index for measuring the consciousness of a local social community consists of the detailed items of needs reinforcement, membership, influence and emotional connection.

Various Approaches to Local Community Arts

Perspectives currently looking over the community art of our country are divided into other specialized perspectives of genre in the world of arts, and perspectives of welfare. This could be seen as an issue for which local community arts exist, but in reality the roles of arts and culture have historically always been a symbolic means for the expression of a community’s identity within a region or place. Instead of distinguishing between those who create and those who spectate in the arts, one would need to view the narratives of a community as a large idea and not as a position on a map.

Therefore, perspectives on local community arts would need to move beyond merely sharing the results and processes of projects and observe changes in the historic relations between people and regions within a sense of space in terms of time, extent of space, changes in the individual and groups, and examine whether the influence differentiated by scale and population density strengthened the need for local communities possessed by their members and raised their sense of belonging while receiving influence, and also whether they are emotionally connected, as well as to set whether a sense of community is formed as the goal through meditation on institutional, regulatory and social networks.

That the distance was further expanded or the concept of space called spaces in between objects lost its significance, and understanding differences of intersection and, furthermore, of differences, while power over places is disappearing and being forgotten, is what is art(istic). Artists must always escape from the narrow views of culture to reflect and question in order to further record nature that is cultural and mythical. They are anticipating a happy society by participating through an individual's sense of satisfaction regarding their community and pursuing self contentment.