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Articles | Volume 1
15 Jul 2019
 | 15 Jul 2019

How to read ʽEmotional Cartographiesʼ: Rethinking (Carto)graphic Representation and Semantics

Nevena Marković

Keywords: Emotional Geographies, Emotional Cartographies, Conceptual Semantics, Spatial Humanities, Narrative Landscape

Abstract. The emotions, in its broadest sense, have been the subject of anthropological, sociological, and cultural studies among geographers. The “mapping impulse” has been also an essential element and a major force in many disciplines and fields.

Historically, the mapping has imposed not only physical but also imagined boundaries, imposing “the power-knowledge” relations on the landscape and its communities. At the same time, looking at the history of cartography, the visual vocabulary of conventional maps has been used to interpret various facets of the human psyche, for instance in the case of the late Renaissance “sentimental cartography”.

The concept of 'Emotional Geographies' has been adopted by geographers as 'a concern with the spatiality and temporality of emotions' (Davidson J, 2007). Hence, emotions have been acknowledged not as individualized, but as intersubjective – social and cultural.

Although the geospatial technologies have acquired more humanized characteristics since the mid 1990‘s (Pickles, 1995), such as mapping feelings (Pocock, D. 1984) and emotional responses to space (Gartner, 2012), the cartography has been facing challenges regarding of data collection and representation of emotions (Griffin & McQuoid, 2012). Therefore, little cartographic efforts have been made in that direction due to the challenges in data collection and representation of emotions. (Griffin & McQuoid, 2012).

As such, “turned” not only by the affective topographic or non-spatial elements, but also the critical theory, “Emotional Mapping”, as an additional concept in cartography, goes beyond the georeferenced emotional states in a certain geographic area. This reflexive methodology combines technology, science and art, theory and practice, and, as Nold argues, enables “Reflection-In-Action”, and new social relations. But, the way in which it creates a tangible vision of places as a dense multiplicity of personal sensations, which we are not normally aware of, is its most significant aspect (Nold, 2009). Further to new psychology-based approaches to affect and emotion, and how maps make us feel (Griffin & McQuoid, 2012), alternative approaches from cartography, social theory and art, demonstrate how maps are meaningful. In such scholarship environment, the co-creation of “Emotional Mapping” has a potential by drawing on “Emotional Cartography” techniques, and exploring the ways in which emotional responses might be sensed, captured, represented, analysed, and used in various cross-disciplinary projects.

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