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    Rethinking maps

    Kitchin, Rob and Dodge, Martin (2007) Rethinking maps. Progress in Human Geography, 31 (3). pp. 331-344. ISSN 0309-1325

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    In this paper we argue that cartography is profitably conceived as a processual, rather than representational, science. Building on recent analysis concerning the philosophical underpinnings of cartography we question the ontological security of maps, contending that it is productive to rethink cartography as ontogenetic in nature; that is maps emerge through practices and have no secure ontological status. Drawing on the concepts of transduction and technicity we contend that maps are of-themoment, brought into being through practices (embodied, social, technical); that mapping is a process of constant re-territorialization. Maps are never fully formed and their work is never complete. Maps are transitory and fleeting, being contingent, relational and context-dependent; they are always mappings; spatial practices enacted to solve relational problems (e.g., how best to create a spatial representation, how to understand a spatial distribution, how to get between A and B, and so on). Such a rethinking, we contend, provides a fresh perspective on cartographic epistemology, and could work to provide a common framework for those who undertake mapping as applied knowledge (asking technical questions) and those that seek to critique such mapping as a form of power/knowledge (asking ideological questions). We illustrate our argument through an analysis of mapping practices.

    Item Type: Article
    Additional Information: Preprint version of original published article, © 2007 SAGE Publications: doi: 10.1177/0309132507077082
    Keywords: cartography; maps; practice; ontology; ontogenesis;
    Academic Unit: Faculty of Science and Engineering
    Faculty of Social Sciences > Geography
    Faculty of Social Sciences > Research Institutes > National Institute for Regional and Spatial analysis, NIRSA
    Item ID: 2755
    Identification Number:
    Depositing User: Prof. Rob Kitchin
    Date Deposited: 06 Oct 2011 13:59
    Journal or Publication Title: Progress in Human Geography
    Publisher: Sage
    Refereed: No

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