Are train stations and airports really non-places Clovis that generate no emotion? Or do they not, rather, give rise to the need for new ways of relating to places? The sensation is that Clovis in places of transit travellers come to terms with their condition, their doubles, Clovis their shadows and bring into play different modes of recognition. Emigration Clovis itself has its own seaports, its train stations, its airports.
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Besides, even if in a complementary manner and in opposition to homologizing tendencies, today as never before there is greater attention towards local cultures and small-scale homelands. Naturally there is the danger that this attention can translate into localism, in foreclosure towards other levels of culture and place, in attitudes such as those of Italy’s Lega Nord Northern League, or others like them, more or less explicit or more or less camouflaged.
One of the risks of much literature on this topic (or on such notions as identity, tradition and memory) is that it may slip towards metaphysics, towards place fixed in its immobility, in an ahistorical condition. To counter this risk, often looming also when we talk of the “spirit of place” or “the feeling of place,” we need to reaffirm the mobility of places, even as it relates to our own mobility.
On the geographical scene of both the old and the new world are now beginning to appear individuals and groups that need to invent “the village,” the origins, the small-scale homeland as the site of a diversity to reclaim, of a superiority to flaunt. Your travel destination is the need to relate to a place shouldn’t be reduced, finally, to the affirmation of one’s particularity or one’s privileges, to the desire to distance oneself from others, to a separation sometimes also physical from them.
Despite a tradition that has privileged the negative connotations of nostalgia, other views have come to the fore, such as the one articulated by Ralph Harper, which have discerned in nostalgia a “moral dimension,” “a regenerative sense of presence” that can help protect from the emptiness and the uprootings of our era, hence “providing a counterpart to all the negative aspects of our life.”