Beyond the 'binaries': A methodological intervention for interrogating maps as representational practices

Vincent J. Del Casino, Stephen P. Hanna

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

167 Scopus citations


Over the past two decades, a growing number of geographers and cartographic historians have critically examined maps as products imbued with power, the social contexts of map production, and the intimate involvement of cartography in Western imperialism and the enlightenment project. More recently, a few scholars have applied critical approaches to studies of map use and interpretation. Much of this work reproduces, at least implicitly, a series of binaries that separate maps as representations of space from spatial practices. In this paper, we offer a methodological intervention by introducing a theorization of 'map spaces' as a way to move beyond the duality of representational and non-representational theory in critical cartography. Methodologically framing how we can interrogate the binaries of representation/practice, production/consumption, conceptualization/interpretation, and corporeality/sociality upon which so much analysis is based affords us the opportunity to challenge the presumptions of critical cartography as either the study of mapmaking or map use. We use a tourism map of Fredericksburg, Virginia to demonstrate how to 'move beyond' a critical cartography that is based, as some suggest, in an analysis of representation and not practice.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)34-56
Number of pages23
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2006


  • Critical cartography
  • Map space
  • Representation/non-representation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development


Dive into the research topics of 'Beyond the 'binaries': A methodological intervention for interrogating maps as representational practices'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this