Making scents of the landscape

Publisher:
John Banjamins
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Citation:
Linguistic Landscape, 2015, 1 (3), pp. 191 - 212
Issue Date:
2015-12-11
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Moving away from logocentric studies of the linguistic landscape, this paper explores the relations between linguascapes and smellscapes. Often regarded as the least important of our senses, smell is an important means by which we relate to place. Based on an olfactory ethnography of a multicultural suburb in Sydney, we show how the intersection of people, objects, activities and senses make up the spatial repertoire of a place. We thus take a broad view of the semiotic landscape, including more than the visual and the intentional, and suggest that we are interpellated by smells as part of a broader relation to space and place. Understanding the semiotics of the urban smellscape in associational terms, we therefore argue not merely that smell has generally been overlooked in semiotic landscapes, nor that this can be rectified by an expanded inventory of sensory signs, but rather that the interpellative and associational roles of smells invite us towards an alternative semiotics of time and place.
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