27th Sep2012

Maps, Representations, and Power

by tatianabenjamin

Space: Soja’s definition of space is of particular interest to me. He argues for understanding space as always being filled with politics and ideologies (19). This goes back to previous discussions about space not being void. Space does require bodies but even without those bodies politics and ideology remain.

Place: Paglen cites Lefebvre in his discussion of place.  “….Pre-existing space underpins not only durable spatial arrangements but also representational spaces and their attendant imagery and mythic narratives” (56). What I found intriguing about this quote is the part about “mythic narratives.” Our understanding of place is always impacted by the stories we have heard. These stories whether true or not impact out imaginary in relation to that space.


  1. Soja’s text, Seeking Spatial Justice, argues for a privileging and/or acknowledgement of the primacy of spatiality in understanding space and justice. I tried to follow his line of reasoning but I am unsure how this privileging will paly out. In other words, what does it actually look like to privilege spatiality as an analytic? It is hard for me to conceptualize because I automatically infuse history with space and trying t untangle them is difficult for me.
  2. Reading Paglen’s text made me think about my own project as it is continually being reshaped. I found his questions in the beginning to of interest to me. Where are bodies being moved? Why are these bodies being moved? This speaks to understanding space as political, as well as the importance of history to understanding these politics. Why are black and brown bodies being deported? It is more than an issue of resources in my opinion. I think it would be interesting to talk more about these relationships of spatiality, politics, and history.
  3. Paglen states, “The world, in short, ahs been elaborately and meticulously mapped. The images I was looking for were missing, not because the desert hadn’t been mapped, but because what they showed was secret” (12).  This portion of the text made be question issues of power. What is gained and lost in the creation of maps? Who are we hiding information me? Who has the power to create what is seen and taken away? I would like to explore power beyond just an understanding things being taken but the ways in which power is enacted.

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