Images of nature from a childrens’ perspective. A comparative case study between Germany and Sweden.

Concept and Aims

The Project aims to gain and deepen insight into the ideas and concepts of nature and nature spaces, which children at an age of around 12 years have formed and which they adopt to make sense of the world and their environment.Against the background of theories of significative appropriation of space (Werlen 1993) as well as iconographic and phenomenological approaches to the perception of material surroundings (Sachs-Hombach 2001), we aim to figure out to what extend children have aquired ideas about the nature/ Culture divide and enclosed landscape entities such as forests, woodlands or urban areas.Additionally, we are interested in the perception of cultural heritage such as the Stora Alvaret on Öland in Sweden and the Biosphärenreservat Rhön in Germany, for instance. What differences can be analysed in comparing children with an urban and rather nature-distant educational background (Frankfurt), and children with a rural and rather close to nature educational background (Torslunda)? Are there any differences?This research is strongly related to recent discussions around Actor Network and non-representational approaches (Whatmore 2002, Thrift 2007) and a possible overcoming of traditional dualistic thinking: What can we learn from children as regards perceiving the environment as “heterogenous associations”? At what age and under what conditions could a non-dualistic education in school curricula be effective? What would be the implications for present scholarly worldviews?


Analytical frameworks combining semiotic and phenomenological approaches (Renggli) by using quantitative and qualitative methods such as mental mapping, reflexive photography, group discussion, hermeneutics.

Project members

Torslunda Skola (Torslunda), Station Linné (Skogsby), Linné Universitetet (Kalmar), Gymnasium Riedberg (Frankfurt am Main) and Goethe-Universität Frankfurt (Frankfurt am Main).