Oral Presentation Session
Reviewed by: Association for the Anthropology of Policy
Of interest to: Practicing and Applied Anthropologists, Students
Primary Theme: Technology
Secondary Theme: Policy
Anthropologists have made recent gains turning their critical ethnographic eyes to such ubiquitous tools of planning, prioritizing, and decision making as meetings (Brown et al 2017), quantitative indicators and indexes (e.g., Rottenburg et al 2015), elections and accounting forms (e.g., Coles 2007), and monitoring and evaluation procedures (e.g., Peters 2016). This panel brings together anthropologists critically engaged with maps and mapmaking as important mediators of planning and decision-making. Panelists will engage with a map or set of maps used (or not) by fieldwork interlocutors in order to examine the promises, relationships, interactions, labor, and disjunctions involved with map making and maps as agents of decision making, strategic tools of persuasion, and/or as political maneuvers.
As spatialized decision-making becomes more technologically feasible through the development of databases, on-line map making, and the democratization of cartography, it is important to understand the dynamics of map-making and of map-reading, especially as they intersect with performances of authority and the politics of knowledge claims and representations. While mapping and GIS technology is used in a variety of fields, this panel will focus on mapping engagements within the public sector, analyzing in part how state-society relationships are forged through maps in new ways, and tracing the chains of interactions between map production and map usage as those chains also traverse scalar, regionalized, and often hierarchical work relationships. Further, panelists are concerned with issues of audience. Who and what are the subjects and objects of the map, how do they relate to the consumers/readers of this map-genre? Specifically in the realm of public decision making, how do maps operate to create or divide different "publics," enact or enable claims-making, or direct officials to deny claims?