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Guest Editorial
Territorial Identities and Heritage. A Constructivist Approach

Oana-Ramona ILOVAN1, Marinela ISTRATE*2
* Corresponding author
1Babeș-Bolyai University, Faculty of Geography, Department of Regional Geography and Territorial Planning, Territorial Identities and Development Research Centre, Cluj-Napoca, ROMANIA

2“Al. I. Cuza” University of Iaşi, Faculty of Geography and Geology, Department of Geography, Iaşi, ROMANIA

Abstract. Territorial identity is defined by tangible and intangible features and involves both place attachment and belonging and the politics of territorial planning. When considered as an expression of historical heritage and characteristics, shared by settled collectivities, territorial identity in all its declinations (urban, local, regional, national) can be considered a tool against the current and stronger homogenising effects of globalisation. At the same time, local identity harbours the emotional and symbolic meanings people ascribe to a sense of self and attachment to place. We advocate for a relational, dynamic, and participatory notion of territorial identity, constituted both spatially and socially, challenging the notion of identity as fixed, natural, ahistorical, or rooted in a certain essence. Besides territorial identity, another key concept discussed is landscape, conceived as a social construct and signifying system, in its morphological (i.e. material form) and/or in its ideological or represented aspects. In a certain sense, the following articles can be considered a contribution both to territorial identity and landscape studies, through the lenses of New Cultural Geography, showing how territorial identities are constructed at the intersection of spatial and social relations, embedded in various networks of power. Understanding territorial identities as dynamic products and processes, historically and geographically contingent, formed and enacted, is part of our making sense of the world and planning for a better future.

K e y w o r d s: representations, cultural landscape, social construction, place attachment, territorial planning, development