Power and Politics of Mapping


Kitchin, Rob and Dodge, Martin and Perkins, Chris (2011) Power and Politics of Mapping. In: The Map Reader: Theories of Mapping Practice and Cartographic Representation. Wiley, Chichester, pp. 387-394. ISBN 9780470742839

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Abstract

There is a long tradition of historical analysis that examines the production of maps, their development over time and their role in society. Such analysis implicitly concerns the power of mapping to influence social and economic relations in particular places and times. More recently, research has focused specifically on the politics and power of mapping; how power is captured in and communicated through maps to assert command and control of territory and socio-spatial relations; how power is bound up in the very creation and use of maps; and how mapping practices are used to resist and contest the exercise of power over space. Much of this research is framed within what has been termed critical cartography (Harley 1989; Crampton and Krygier 2005) and critical GIS (Pickles 1995; Curry 1998; Schuurman 1999; O’Sullivan 2006). Critical cartography is post-positivist in its approach, drawing on a range of social theory to re-examine cartographic representations and the wider milieu of mapping processes. It is often avowedly political in its analysis of mapping praxis, seeking to deconstruct the work of maps and the science that produces them, often undertaking to produce alternative maps that are sensitive to the power relations at play. On the one hand, this has led to an examination of the power of maps and the work they do in the world, and on the other to new forms of collaborative and counter-mapping that seek to produce empowering and emancipatory cartographies, which subvert the status quo. In both cases, there is an explicit recognition that maps are a product of power at work and that they are powerful tools in struggles of domination and resistance. In this section excerpts from a number of key readings that seek to document and theorize the power of maps are provided.

Item Type: Book Section
Keywords: colonial power; cartography; mapping; politics; power;
Academic Unit: Faculty of Social Sciences > Geography
Faculty of Social Sciences > Research Institutes > National Institute for Regional and Spatial analysis, NIRSA
Item ID: 7310
Identification Number: 10.1002/9780470979587
Depositing User: Prof. Rob Kitchin
Date Deposited: 06 Sep 2016 14:18
Journal or Publication Title: The Map Reader: Theories of Mapping Practice and Cartographic Representation
Publisher: Wiley
Refereed: No
URI:

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