Editing worlds: participatory mapping and a minor geopolitics

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

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Cartography and geopolitics have a troubled relationship. While maps have been complicit in the worst excesses of colonial venturing and Cold War politicking, they have also been deployed as inscriptions of recalcitrance and resistance. Yet regardless of the ends to which they have been deployed, mapping and cartography are creative, aesthetic performances and sometimes outwardly experimental and artistic. To what extent then, might contemporary forms of cartographic practice be producing spaces that are simultaneously creative and geopolitical? This article employs the wiki‐based OpenStreetMap as a fieldwork intervention in exploring how online, virtual, crowd‐sourced cartographies can be conjured as ‘ethico‐aesthetic projects’ (Guattari 1995) that valorise creative processes in negotiating emergent problems, politics, events and spaces. It shows how OpenStreetMap is at once a technology, a set of performances and a series of communities that allows users to create and alter maps, thereby generating capacities to edit worlds. The article explores how these capacities inflect geographical imaginations while being generative of a minor geopolitics. ‘Minor’ in this context alludes not to scale or tenor, but instead refers to the non‐representational registers of cartography so as to spotlight the unspoken, anticipatory geopolitics of mapping.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)273-286
Number of pages14
JournalTransactions of the Institute of British Geographers
Issue number2
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 21 Jan 2015


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