Performing a New England landscape: Viewing, engaging, and belonging

Cheryl E. Morse, Allan M. Strong, V. Ernesto Mendez, Sarah T. Lovell, Austin R. Troy, William B. Morris

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This research considered how rural landscapes and place identity are produced through private landowners' work. The notion of performance is explored from two perspectives: as a research method and as a powerful conceptual tool that affords a multi-scalar tracing of the connections between belonging, aesthetics, and the legacy of tourism narratives in a contemporary rural place. Interviews with rural Vermont landowners reveal that they conduct a diverse array of activities on their properties, but hold remarkably similar perceptions of the key elements in an ideal Vermont landscape. This vision closely matches the pastoral ideal that was manufactured for tourist consumption beginning in the late 19th century. Landowners engage in land-shaping activities that reproduce an ideal, agrarian view, but not necessarily agricultural livelihoods. Researcher engagement in a land-shaping activity afforded insight into the community and public elements of private landowners' land use practices. This mixed-methods approach revealed how landowners' sense of attachment to place and the doing of land-shaping activities contribute to the performance of a regional New England landscape.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)226-236
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Rural Studies
StatePublished - Oct 1 2014


  • Aesthetics
  • Landscape
  • Performance
  • Place
  • Rural
  • Vermont

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Development
  • Sociology and Political Science


Dive into the research topics of 'Performing a New England landscape: Viewing, engaging, and belonging'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this