The paper aims to draft a critical reading of the role of maps in the construction/ representation of power in Western societies, according to some main recent and historical literature references and research experiences. In this context the notion of power is consider in a broader (spatial) sense: as a mean of control, surveillance and production of space and, at the same time, in relation to the notion of “knowledge” (namely cartographical knowledge) in Foucaultian terms. Thus, the essay will explore and draw the attention on two main issues. From one side, the double role of maps as tool, language and means of communication of political power at the service of political elites and, therefore, their ability to translate political projects and decisions into space (as, for instance, in the “construction” of political boundaries). From the other side, the paper will suggest and explore the idea of a “paradigm-shift” in the use and access to cartographic information, due to the introduction of new open-source and open-contents technologies and platforms. Since the last decades, in fact, ICT has been opening new spaces for social practices and interactions. These processes have deeply affected the relationship between map makers and map users, leading to innovative forms and practices of participatory and community-based mapping and commons-based peer production cartographic tools, which allow to question maps as “socially constructed forms of knowledge” (Harley 1988, p. 277). At the same time, a series of critical issue regarding the accessibility and the ownership of the cartographic information will be taken into account.

From Power to Empowerment? The Social Role of Cartographic Knowledge

BUOLI, ALICE
2014

Abstract

The paper aims to draft a critical reading of the role of maps in the construction/ representation of power in Western societies, according to some main recent and historical literature references and research experiences. In this context the notion of power is consider in a broader (spatial) sense: as a mean of control, surveillance and production of space and, at the same time, in relation to the notion of “knowledge” (namely cartographical knowledge) in Foucaultian terms. Thus, the essay will explore and draw the attention on two main issues. From one side, the double role of maps as tool, language and means of communication of political power at the service of political elites and, therefore, their ability to translate political projects and decisions into space (as, for instance, in the “construction” of political boundaries). From the other side, the paper will suggest and explore the idea of a “paradigm-shift” in the use and access to cartographic information, due to the introduction of new open-source and open-contents technologies and platforms. Since the last decades, in fact, ICT has been opening new spaces for social practices and interactions. These processes have deeply affected the relationship between map makers and map users, leading to innovative forms and practices of participatory and community-based mapping and commons-based peer production cartographic tools, which allow to question maps as “socially constructed forms of knowledge” (Harley 1988, p. 277). At the same time, a series of critical issue regarding the accessibility and the ownership of the cartographic information will be taken into account.
INNOVATIVE TECHNOLOGIES IN URBAN MAPPING; BUILT SPACE AND MENTAL SPACE.
9783319037981
Cartographic knowledge; Critical cartography; Common-based peer production mapping
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11311/880562
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