Beyond Property: Representing Claims to Land in Participatory GIS

Authors: Gabriella Subia Smith*,
Topics: Latin America, Cultural and Political Ecology, Qualitative Methods
Keywords: property, land rights, participatory mapping, participatory GIS, critical cartography, political ecology
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/10/2018
Start / End Time: 2:40 PM / 4:20 PM
Room: Studio 10, Marriott, 2nd Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


While often taken for granted, maps and property organize the world into legible legal and economic units. However, critical cartography suggests that space represented in a map not only reflects, but also reproduces dominant forms of spatial knowledge while obscuring others. Participatory mapping democratizes the mapping and knowledge production process and provide opportunities for communities to communicate local knowledge of land, the environment, and property. The use of participatory GIS in the formalization of property rights further bridges gaps in official and local knowledge of property by making local property legible to the state. Yet the knowledge produced in a participatory GIS remains embedded in power relations both within communities and between communities and the state. This paper will explore how power relations limit or facilitate the ability for communities to achieve goals of formalizing rights to land.

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