[Thesis]. Manchester, UK: The University of Manchester; 2017.
This thesis is concerned with mobile mapping practices in Sydney and Hong Kong. Since
the development of mobile media technology, there has been widespread proliferation
of geo-locative, quasi-cartographic mapping practices in which people use applications
(apps) on their mobile phones to narrate and navigate their way through urban spaces.
This has raised questions within scholarly communities about the impact that these
new technologies are having on everyday practices and everyday lives. As such, this
thesis seeks to contribute to a growing field of knowledge surrounding the transformation
of wayfinding, navigational and spatial mapping in the wake of these developments.
Focusing an empirical investigation in two post/colonial cities – Sydney and Hong
Kong – it draws on ethnographic, archival and geographical data in order to situate
mobile mapping in an everyday context.Building upon Foucault’s work on order (2002b),
knowledge (2002a) and discipline (1995), this thesis seeks to address the issue of
power-knowledge relations within and without mobile mapping practices as political
and generative contestations over the meaning of space, the potentiality of practice
and the indeterminacy of the past. It does so by considering an over-arching discourse
of cartographic reason, best articulated by Farinelli (1998) and Olsson (1998) as
a rationalist, universalist and geometrical approach to spatial understanding. Moving
beyond the Cartesian interpretation of cartographic reason, it argues that in an increasingly
digitised and monadic world, analyses of cartographic discourse must expand into an
investigation of the role of Leibnizian binary systems, universal characteristics
and elasticity.As such, this thesis engages three heuristic lenses – space, technology
and people - with which to understand the empirical material from different perspectives.
It argues that digital mobile mapping practices can be understood as expanded and
transformative descendants of the rationalist, universalist and scientific impulses
that have characterised cartographic reason since the Enlightenment. However, where
continuity can be traced across many different cartographic and mapping practices,
as the power of cartographic reason continues to reassert authority and territorialise
space and knowledge, equally, the contestations which where borne of initial and early
colonial encounters continue to generate contestation, conflict and hauntings.