Hedgerow Poiesis

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This essay considers the iconic English hedgerow in light of its history as material, made object and its ontological status as vital ecology. It argues that both of these aspects are associated with particular ‘aesthetics of care’, which are entwined with one another in inextricable, and often agonistic, ways. Central to this argument are the interrelated aspects of the hedge understood as commodity or property, its role in materialising property relations, and the hedge’s own living ‘properties’. Caring for the hedge; the hedge as expression of care for the property that is demarcated and secured through it (and the ecological and social relations that ensue); caring with hedges as the needs of multispecies living need to be addressed – all of these are at stake, and care in these different relations is rooted in histories of suffering (physical as well as emotional cares) and histories of care as a form of disposition marked by attentiveness and effort. Both ‘property’ and ‘properties’ are deeply embedded in systems and stories of ownership, place and land use; both are coming under increasing pressure in the midst of climate crisis, which demands new forms of multispecies, multitemporal care.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)9–144
JournalEmotions: History, Culture, Society
Publication statusPublished - 23 Jun 2023


  • hedge
  • care
  • biocultural heritage
  • climate crisis
  • temporality
  • plant humanities
  • medieval
  • thorns
  • enclosure


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