Liminality, Metaphor and Place in the Farming Landscape of Tinos: The Village of Kampos

Author: Maria Vidali (College Year Athens)
Speaker: Maria Vidali
Topic: Language and Spatiotemporal Frames
The (SCOPUS / ISI) SOAS GLOCAL COMELA 2021 General Session


This research explores the farming landscape and village life in Kampos, a village on the Greek island of Tinos. Tinos is an Aegean island with a long history of agriculture. In Kampos, one of the oldest farming villages of Tinos, boundaries created by low stone walls and alleyways primarily define the farming landscape that permeates village life and its structure. The landscape appears semi-artificial, given the construction of countless rows of cultivation ridges and terraces. This research  is about understanding boundaries revealed through texts, space, movement and habit. Boundaries create a series of liminal spaces. They represent areas -or rather situations- allowing for different co-existing levels of interaction, which are both ambiguous and can be transformed through negotiation. Negotiation wouldn’t be possible without language and narrative. Language consists in communal metaphors, stories and fictional beliefs that bind and connect a small community together in a farming landscape, which still retains a quality of life closely connected with nature, architecture, the private and public realm, all by exhibiting features that can be found in a contemporary way of living.

Objectified and non-objectifiable boundaries -in relation to the villagers’ land, water, private and public spaces-, their absence, their negotiation, the life that flourishes in-between them and their relationship to men and women, ownership, and bonding are important aspects examined in research. The presence, the lack of, and the negotiation of these boundaries unfold through scholarly narratives/fictional stories that are based on narratives and interviews of villagers from Kampos. Through these narratives, it is argued that when boundaries are obscure or create an in-between space of negotiation and communication, when they become a liminal space, then a different situation of ownership and bonding arises, the villagers claim their properties’ boundaries, they are negotiating about them and sometimes they fall into serious conflicts.

Conducting this research, I soon realized that stories created out of the villager’s life, space and landscape consist of a series of metaphors about what dwelling is in this part of the world, in this specific landscape, with a contemporary way of living, but still connected with tradition and the past as a mimetic action to the present time.

Keywords: Language and space, narrative, metaphor, fiction, landscape, village life