University of Twente Student Theses


Cartography: A Theory through the Reconciliation of its Epistemic Conflicts

Desai, Mihir (2023) Cartography: A Theory through the Reconciliation of its Epistemic Conflicts.

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Abstract:This thesis looks closely at the human activity of writing literature of cartography. It identifies complexities surrounding the conception of maps and agenda for cartography which renders its scientific community in a state of epistemic conflicts. This conflict irreconcilably splits the cartography community into three epistemic counterparts i.e., Positivism, Deconstructivism & Hermeneutics. The authors who theorize and promote the epistemologies will be referred as ‘identities’ of cartography. While the (+) Positivists appear to have a dominant hold over the epistemic space, the (–) Deconstructivists and (∞) Hermeneuticians struggle to recapture it. Whereas (+) Positivist and (–) Deconstructivist identities try to secure map conceptions and ethics of cartographic representation amidst dilemmas of objectivity and subjectivity, (∞) Hermeneutic identities tend to escape the tension by declaring that maps have no secure conceptions and contend that cartography is best seen as a processual science to study events surrounding the creation, circulation and worldly effects of mapping. This sets a novel premise to rethink the cartographer as a jurist who maps and reconciles the epistemic conflicts within cartography. Finally, the thesis will reveal an epistemic fallacy of cartography wherein map epistemology is misunderstood as map ontology due to the anthropocentric bias of empiricism. It will be shown how this fallacy releases the epistemic space for marginalised identities and another hidden identity which arrives from a non-human position. To conclude, a theory of cartography will be presented which reconciles the knowledge of maps produced by its human and non-human identities. The value of Reconciliation theory will be discussed through a map project which involves legal advocacy.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:ITC: Faculty of Geo-information Science and Earth Observation
Subject:38 earth sciences
Programme:Cartography MSc (75157)
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