Mapping Co-production: Unsettling Mapping Practices in the Construction of Nature & the Environment

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Historically maps had been portrayed as objective representatives of nature, often viewed as the very embodiment of scientific fact: epistemological practices and critiques of relations of power were frequently absent to this perceived ontological condition. This dogma was firmly challenged in the social sciences in the 1980’s by scholars who claimed that maps and mapping practices were in themselves expressions of power, expressions which created rather than revealed knowledge. Increasingly scholars have sought to question the process of knowledge production within mapping practices including questioning the authority which the results of this process often commands. This session invites papers which further unsettle the ontological and epistemological construction of maps of the environment and nature and further explore the co-production of maps.

An increasing emphasis on public participation in some divisions of science, the dynamic mass collaboration platforms of social media, and the growing collection of big data sets from which mapping practices can draw from lead us to ask: are new forms of expertise being inscribed, or are old knowledge hierarchies being reinforced in the production of maps of nature and the environment? We invite papers that seek to explore the co-production of maps within these emerging contexts.

Topics might include but are not limited to:

  • Participatory mapping practices and the environment;
  • How are maps brought into being through practice? How does the constant, co-constitutive production of a map occur? Including the making and remaking of maps;
  • How other visual and representational modes of knowing and praxis can ontologically and epistemologically inform/unsettle maps of the environment;
  • Practices of digital mapping and the use/role of social media in mapping practices;
  • Papers examining ‘lay’ mapping practices;
  • The (re)reconstruction of nature and/or the environment in response to the co-production of maps.

The discussant will be: Prof. Katherine Gough (Loughborough University)

Deadline for submitting abstracts is 7th February 2014

Please send abstracts up to a maximum of 250 words and proposed titles (clearly stating name, institution, and contact details) to Kim Ward