From Cartographic Gaze to Contestatory Cartographies

Specht, D. and Feigenbaum, A. 2018. From Cartographic Gaze to Contestatory Cartographies. in: Bargués-Pedreny, P., Chandler, D. and Simon, E. (ed.) Mapping and Politics in the Digital Age Routledge.

Chapter titleFrom Cartographic Gaze to Contestatory Cartographies
AuthorsSpecht, D.
Feigenbaum, A.
EditorsBargués-Pedreny, P.
Chandler, D.
Simon, E.
Abstract

Rene Descartes declared in the 16th Century that the world was now dominated by the visual, a notion that would be seen as defining the Enlightenment (Descartes, cited in Potts, 2015). As the increased dominance of seeing and the desire to visualise the world cohered with the production of increasingly accurate tools of measurement and the advent of the printing press, cartography emerged as a discipline, often used as tool of oppression and dominance. Cartographic visualizations, afforded the creator, and user, a Gods eye view of the world. Following others (See Casas-Cortés et. al., 2013; Koch, 1998), this chapter refers to this way of seeing the world from above as the Cartographic Gaze. First, the chapter briefly examines the historical emergence of the Cartographic Gaze before turning to a discussion about how the proliferation of geographic imaging technologies and digital tools simultaneously further embedded this gaze into mapping practice, while also diffusing such practices of mapping to broader populations. Discussing the rise of participatory mapping and counter mapping under the rubric of contestatory cartographies, the chapter presents some of the challenges that face those attempting to create alternative maps of their worlds, and the ways in which they become entrapped by the pervasiveness of the Cartographic Gaze. We use the term participatory mapping to refer to methodologies for map-making based around the participation of those who the map will represent. And we employ the term counter mapping to reference those mapping practices that explicitly seek to expose and challenge power relations. In specific, we look at how the colonizing origins of the Cartographic Gaze limit what it is possible to do with these alternative mapping practices.

KeywordsCartography
Mapping
Gaze
Colonialism
Power
Representation
Book titleMapping and Politics in the Digital Age
Year2018
PublisherRoutledge
Publication dates
Published06 Nov 2018
ISBN9780815357407

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