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Spatializing Data

Jacques Lévy présentera au Séminaire Data, digital methods and mapping social complexity


[img: Lévy & Chavanier, A Cartogramme: Switzerland: Referendum on Minarets, 2009]In addition to the problem of how to graphically treat and visualize data (dealt with in the previous session), are a series of underlying questions about the metaphors, metonyms and metrics we deploy to translate the digital into the spatial (Levy, 2012). When we invoke digital “mapping” tools, or talk about “spatializing” our networks through tools such as Gephi, we are making loose references to practices and techniques of the field of cartography. The session will unpack the relationship between web cartography and traditional cartography by taking a long historical view of the evolution of the field and the uses (navigational, aesthetic, conquest) of its objects (Farinelli, 2009). We will also think through the epistemological commitments entailed in describing the activity of digital analysis and representation as “mapping” (November et al., 2010). What do we gain and lose by adhering to this term? And we will focus some attention on an increasing number of voices--many coming from the domain of geography--calling for critical data studies.

Collective discussion of the articles listed below

  • Ghitalla, F. (2013). Des boussoles et des territoires. L’Atelier de Cartographie. (link)
  • Plantin, J-C. (2012). D'une carte à l'autre : le potentiel heuristique de la comparaison entre graphe du web et carte géographique. In Analyser le web en Sciences Humaines et Sociales, Barats C; (dir). (link)
  • Wyly, E. (2014). The new quantitative revolution (link)
  • Dalton, C. and Thatcher, J. (2014) What does a critical data studies look like and shy do we care? (link)
  • Beyon the Geotag: situating "Big Data" and leveraging the Potential of the Geoweb (link)

Suggested Readings:

  • Lévy, J. (2012). A Cartographic Turn? Revue Électronique des Sciences Humaines et Sociales. (link)
  • Tsou, M. (2013). Mapping ideas from cyberspace to realspace: visualizing the spatial context of keywords from web page search results (link)
  • Lima, M. (2013) "Decoder les reseaux" chapitre 3 dans Cartographie des reseaux: l'art de representer la complexite (link)


Jacques Lévy

 of the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) will be the guest of this session and give a talk about the "spatial turn" in the social sciences, including the digital social sciences, and give us some elements to think critically with and about the relation of the digital and space.The seminar is open to all. If you are interested in participating, however, please sign up on the website here.