Foucault News

News and resources on French thinker Michel Foucault (1926-1984)

Crampton, J. W. (2001). Maps as social constructions: power, communication and visualization. Progress in Human Geography, 25(2), 235–252.

Two developments in cartography mark an epistemic break with the assumption that maps are unproblematic communication devices. These are 1) investigations of maps as practices of power-knowledge; and 2) ‘geographic visualization’ (GVis) which uses the map’s power to explore, analyze and visualize spatial datasets to understand patterns better. These developments are key components of a ‘maps as social constructions’ approach, emphasizing the genealogy of power in mapping practices, and enabling multiple, contingent and exploratory perspectives of data. Furthermore, this approach is an opportunity for cartography to renew its relationship with a critical human geography.

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