SAGE Journal Articles
Select SAGE journal articles are available to give you more insight into chapter topics. These are also an ideal resource to help support your literature reviews, dissertations and assignments.
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Human Geography is largely made up of words (or squiggles, at least: signs, symbols, lines, shading, numbers, etc.), to which we entrust our truths, our sense, and our wisdom. The clue is in the title, as they say: geo-graphy or ‘earth-writing.’ But what happens when our trust in words is shaken to the core? And what happens when our qualitative methods try to reach out beyond words? When a photograph, for example, speaks louder than words, is there any way of escaping our prison-house of language? Aren’t all of those other media and sensations little more than ‘in other words’?
Gregory Bateson’s warning that ‘there is an ecology of bad ideas, just as there is an ecology of weeds’ is perfectly attuned to the way in which a truly noxious form of ‘war-talk’ is seeping into the political unconscious of our increasingly anxious age – the world-wide cult of ‘resilience’ being a prime example. The cultivation of war-talk as an ecology of bad ideas is beautifully illustrated by the discourse of ‘invasion ecology,’ with its notions of ‘biological invasion,’ ‘invasional meltdown,’ ‘alien species,’ and ‘sleeper weeds.’ The political unconscious of Physical Geography should invariably trouble and disturb Human Geographers.
Obviously, maps do so much more than merely re-present our vested interests in the world. (And by only ever re-presenting selective interests, they necessarily mis-represent by way of omission. They omit what lacks interest and they omit interests other than their own. And most interests tend to wane with time – except for the interests of the State, perhaps; and the interests of property, of course.) Maps make claims, make sense, and make do. One important thing that they do is ‘tell tales,’ and until very recently their fairly immutable form – being literally imprinted onto a material fabric, such as cloth or paper – meant that those tales had the implicit form: ‘Once upon a time, long, long ago.’ Most maps seem timeless, as if those pockmarks strewn across its surface were eternal – the main roads and battle sites, the pylons and the sewage works, the viewpoints and the railway stations, even the ruins and the scree. Boundaries, like all good fairy tales, especially tend to endure. But with the advent of digital and dynamic mapping, and the dissolution of mapping into the multi-media banality of everyday life, what new tales will they tell and whose interests will they serve?