Thursday, August 17, 2006

Psychogeography and the High Wycombe terror suspects

We're exploring the meaning of the recent arrests in High Wycombe in the context of the town's sense of place and our personal connection to it.

In November 2004 we did a derive workshop with a group of local school children which at one stage took us through Kings Wood where the police are now searching for evidence of bomb making equipment. 18 months ago the associations of this wood, through the eyes and minds of young teenagers was one of adventure, exploration and discovery of wildlife and flora and debris from an old burnt out car. We met dog walkers who were happy to stand and chat and the children were happy and familiar leading the party around an environment which was obviously a regular playground. How quickly the perceptions of place change.

One question we're asking is to what extent is the presence of religious extremism in the town (supposing the allegations are correct) somehow in keeping with its heritage of religious dissent. Wycombe was a Lollard and Quaker stronghold for many years (Quakers still meet in Wycombe) and in their day they were viewed by the State in almost the same way that Islamic militants are today. This is not drawing a direct comparison in terms of beliefs or methods, or drawing a direct parallel between dissenters and what we now call extremists, it's searching for historic symmetries between current events and echoes from the past.
Click here to read some further thoughts on psychogeography, autotopography and the terror suspects. We'd be keen to know what you think and we'll continue to add updates as we get them.


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Blogger David said...

Please keep this up. The best pgeo blog around at the moment.

11:55 pm

Blogger David said...

A great post. Thank you for sharing.

12:47 am

Anonymous David Payne said...

Is High Wycombe sitting on a "Crime" line?

Because High Wycombe is halfway between London and Oxford, it was used in the past as a traveller's stop off, refreshing both the traveller and the horses taking them. This has caused tales of highway men, including Dick Turpin, passing through High Wycombe and causing trouble along the way. I even read that Queen Elizabeth I had to take a deture around High Wycombe to avoid "theives" that lived in the woods around Saunderton. Nowdays, with the M40, I have even heard tales of the Kray twins use to pass through High Wycombe on their way to Birmingham. Of course, these are only tales, but the fact that High Wycombe is in the middle of an important trade route, could be an invite for criminal activity. It would be interesting if anyone else agrees with this theory, or is crime the same everywhere?

3:51 pm

Blogger Yves said...

I was very interested to discover your site and have written about a recent visit to Kings Wood here. Most of my posts are inspired during walks along public footpaths in the district.

12:47 pm


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