Scaring crows

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A long-form essay, arranged in a sequence of eight segments, in which I travel the countryside in search of a missing person: the scarecrow. Different aspects of the centuries-old practice of scarecrow making and bird scaring are described. Traditionally constructed as a likeness of the human form and erected in newly sown fields as a visual method for warding off feeding birds, the existence of this striking farmland contraption is variously reported: as having all but vanished and yet of making unexpected reappearances; as materially functional and complexly meaningful; as a figure summoned up by cultural memory and personal recollection; and as a focus for mixed feelings of loss, nostalgia, estrangement, and community. A version of ?geographical portraiture? accumulates, in which a single, scenic landmark stands as the essay's central fascination and simultaneously operates as a cipher for stories old and new, of agricultural society, country life, landscape politics, and rural values.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)177-189
Number of pages13
JournalGeographical Review
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2013


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