'Why bother seeing the world for real?': Google Street View and the representation of a stigmatised neighbourhood

Martin J. Power*, Patricia Neville, Eoin Devereux, Amanda Haynes, Cliona Barnes

*Corresponding author for this work

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

18 Citations (Scopus)


We examine how an Irish stigmatised neighbourhood is represented by Google Street View. In spite of Google's claims that Street View allows for a virtual reflection of the real world to enable armchair exploration' (McClendon, 2010). We show how it is directly implicated in the politics of representations. We focus on the manner in which Street View has contributed to the stigmatisation of a marginalised neighbourhood. Methodologically, we adopt a rhetorical/structuralist analysis of the images of Moyross present on Street View. While Google has said the omissions were for operational reasons', we argue that a wider social and ideological context may have influenced Google's decision to exclude Moyross. We examine the opportunities available for contesting such representations, which have significance for the immediate and long-term future of the estate, given the necessity to attract businesses into Moyross as part of the ongoing economic aspect of the regeneration of this area.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1022-1040
Number of pages19
JournalNew Media and Society
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2013


  • Google Street View
  • Ireland
  • Moyross
  • neighbourhood
  • new media
  • stigmatisation
  • urban regeneration
  • MAPS

Cite this