Digital maps and anchored time:
the case for practice theory
Digital maps are increasingly embedded within everyday practices, from choosing a holiday destination to gaining directions to a bar. As hypermediate and
remediate forms (Bolter and Grusin, 2000), they are situated within a complex
array of connected technologies: web mapping services output digital cartography via popular web map engines like Google and Bing Maps which, in turn, sit
embedded on websites. Meanwhile, location-based services allow users to check
Mapping the space of flows 183
are mutable and flowing and no longer fixed in time and space as ink on paper is.
Writing has become liquid, and digital representations of meaning have begun to
pulse and flow at an ever-quickening pace that militates against the pause and traction,
concentration and reflection that meaning construction and knowledge production
demand, and that print culture could facilitate.
One is surely justified in wondering whether this emphasis upon the mapping
of flows, rather than, or in addition to, routes and static locations
he mood is shifting in the contemporary globalisation debate. Only a few
years ago, talk of the contested and politicised nature of globalisation
would have met with scepticism from those who emphasise the sheer
economic power of globalising forces. The orthodox popular and academic
representations of globalisation have for several decades sustained the image
of a powerful economic and technological bulldozer that effortlessly shovels
up states and societies. The very discourse of the ‘competition state’ (Cerny,
1990) effectively sanitised
Alex Gekker, Sam Hind, Sybille Lammes, Chris Perkins and Clancy Wilmott
(Baym, 1999; Jenkins, 2006); or as a virtual realm separate from, and/or in flux
with, ‘common’ human biologies (Hayles, 2002). Already a decade ago, communication researcher Mark Nunes, picking up on the unique language of digital
engagement used by academics and popular media alike, critically noted that:
while the rhetoric may have cooled, reference to the Internet in spatial terms – as
cyberspace or some other place – still occurs frequently on television and in print. This
sense of space is also still mapped by the verbs of displacement – browsing
20 December 2017).
6 For more fine-grained typologies of data, see Kitchin (2014).
7 The urban dashboard is frequently described in terms of being the city’s brain or operating system, in a striking parallel to popular research that sees the human brain as a
supercomputer driving behaviour, experience and thought. This stands in stark c ontrast
to research that focuses on affect as a relational and distributed kind of ‘smartness’
(Zeidner, Matthews and Roberts, 2009; Arvidsson and Colleoni, 2012; Buser
Globalisation at work:
unheard voices and invisible agency
he contemporary problematic of globalisation has encouraged a particular mode of knowledge to dominate explanations of social change.
Academic and popular discussion of all matters ‘global’ have predominantly
asked ‘what is happening’ type questions. It has become almost common sense
to seek to explain the nature of the beast itself, making reference to technological and market structures as the driving forces of change. In this formulation the everyday lives of people are positioned passively