Our Kind of Town (2)

Phil Cohen


This is the second part of an essay about the theoretical and methodological issues raised by  critical cartography in the last decade and their bearing on the struggle to build a just city around a conception of democratic politics centred on the defence and extension of the commons. 

In Part One I discussed epistemologies of map making, outline a typology of cartographical genres, and look at how social scientists and visual artists have used the  map variously as metaphor or model. I concluded by taking a critical look at Fredric Jameson’s theory of cognitive mapping.

Part Two, turns to problems of method. It begins with a critique of psychogeography for not being psychoanalytic enough and of citizen social science for reproducing, even as it tries to challenge, existing knowledge and power relations. The essay concludes by suggesting an agenda for a denizen cartography and outlines a pedagogy of participatory counter mapping linked to community action projects which might embody this approach.

En route the reader is encouraged to look at a large number of maps linked to the text which illustrate and provide a running commentary on the argument. 


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