Kitchin, Rob (2010) Post-representational cartography. lo Squaderno, 15 . pp. 7-12. ISSN 1973-9141
Over the past decade there has been a move amongst critical cartographers to rethink maps from a post-representational perspective – that is, a vantage point that does not privilege representational modes of thinking (wherein maps are assumed to be mirrors of the world) and automatically presumes the ontological security of a map as a map, but rather rethinks and destabilises such notions1. This new theorisation extends beyond the earlier critiques of Brian Harley (1989) that argued maps were social constructions. For Harley a map still conveyed the truth of a landscape, albeit its message was bound within the ideological frame of its creator. He thus advocated a strategy of identifying the politics of representation within maps in order to circumnavigate them (to reveal the truth lurking underneath), with the ontology of cartographic practice remaining unquestioned. As Jeremy Crampton (2003: 90) has argued, Harley’s approach ‘provided an epistemological avenue into the map, but still left open the question of the ontology of the map.’ Recent work has started to probe cartography’s ontology and in this short paper, I detail in brief five such attempts to rethink the ontology of maps to provide a new perspective on how they are conceived, made and used.
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