Visualizing a political economy of directed practice: graphics as catalysts for thought

Authors: Matthew Hannah*, Universit├Ąt Bayreuth
Topics: Social Theory, Geographic Thought, Qualitative Methods
Keywords: graphics, visualization, power, embodiment, direction
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/3/2019
Start / End Time: 8:00 AM / 9:40 AM
Room: Senate Room, Omni, West
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


In a just-completed book, I argue that critical socio-spatial theory has systematically neglected the directedness of embodied practice in favor of a one-sided emphasis on distance and proximity. Central to the argument is a series of graphical illustrations, inspired in part by the work of queer theorists Sara Ahmed on "orientation" and David Wills on "dorsality". These illustrations are developed to represent the embodied character of directed practice and to depict various aspects of "occupation" as a form of power that intersects with more familiar power relations. In a range of unforeseeable ways, the process of developing the graphic illustrations fundamentally re-shaped the course of the argument itself, as graphical elements and decisions suggested unlooked-for reorganizations or enhancements of the conceptual framework. This paper recounts the latter process and invites critical discussion of the graphics themselves in the interest of their further development.

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