Examining the growing interest in the mapping of ‘flows’, in terms of its
historical context and contemporary import, this chapter proposes that such
practices reflect and reinforce a theoretical discourse of protean fluidity
(with an often quasi-metaphysical tenor). All too frequently, this discourse
is left under-analysed; taken for granted as both an empirical banality and
transcendental certainty. The metaphor of fluidity, it is argued, has
considerable utility, especially in relation to the new modalities of
cartography arising from Geographic Information Systems (GIS). However, this
aid to understanding needs to be recognised as a particular way of spatially
representing time, one that may normalise certain ideological precepts.
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