Socio-natural chronotopes: rhythmicality, sensoriality and emotionality of allotment gardens
Petr Gibas (Institute of Sociology, Czech Academy of Sciences)
Paper short abstract:
The paper dissects the temporality of allotment gardens and explores how their materiality becomes imbued with time through a continuous practice of gardening. To account for the complexity of the garden chronotope, the paper combines rhythm analysis with a Deleuzian concept of territorialisation.
Paper long abstract:
Gardens in allotments represent socio-natural assemblages of objects and plants that emerged over time while being constantly in becoming. In this paper, based on a long term research in allotments in Prague, the Czech Republic, I want to dissect the temporality of the allotment garden and explore how its materiality becomes imbued with time and what it means for experiential / emotional properties of the garden. I show that gardening is a continuous bodily engagement of the gardeners with the materiality of the garden that is subordinated to natural rhythms and conforms to (as well as opposes) the gardeners' will. Drawing on observations, interviews and visual (ethnographic) data, I conceptualise gardening as a repetitive as well as creative material practice locked in and productive of various interconnected rhythms. I argue that through these practices the space of the garden becomes imbued with (a sense of) time. The garden is an outcome of a continuous rhythmical care, which moulds the material (and sensory) properties through engaging with and at the same time producing textures, odours, colours and their assemblages (both aesthetical and fertile).It is through such moulding that gardeners become deeply attached to their gardens. In them, they see (but also smell and taste) reflections of their long term engagement in creating a particular socio-natural assemblage. I want to suggest that to account for the complexity of the socio-natural chronotope of the garden it is productive to employ a Lefebvrian rhythm analysis combined with a Deleuzian concept of territorialisation.