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The social dimensions of cognitive cartography

Les dimensions sociales de la cartographie cognitive

Cartotête fourth study day

Quatrième journées Cartotête

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Published on Tuesday, February 09, 2021 by João Fernandes

Summary

Cognitive representations of geographical space are often studied in order to better understand how individuals perceive and deal with everyday spatial problems (Down and Stea, 1977), including orientation, trip planning or navigation. Since these works focus particularly on the functional dimension of such spatial representations, maps are read in a literal, rather than metaphorical perspective. In addition, individual geographical experiences, both direct (trips and visited places) or indirect (spatial information) is considered as the main factor contributing to their construction. Therefore, this “cognitive tool” is essentially considered as an individual and personal construction.

Announcement

Study days – Genoa, 28-29 October 2021

Argument

Cognitive representations of geographical space are often studied in order to better understand how individuals perceive and deal with everyday spatial problems (Down and Stea, 1977), including orientation, trip planning or navigation. Since these works focus particularly on the functional dimension of such spatial representations, maps are read in a literal, rather than metaphorical perspective. In addition, individual geographical experiences, both direct (trips and visited places) or indirect (spatial information) is considered as the main factor contributing to their construction. Therefore, this “cognitive tool” is essentially considered as an individual and personal construction. The actuality of neurocognitive approaches, favoured by the 2014 Nobel Price on research on place cells (O'Keefe et Dostrovsky, 1971, O'Keefe et Nadel, 1978) and grid cells (Hafting, Fyhn, Molden et Moser, 2005) set aside the analysis of social perspectives and strengthen the individual and functional character of spatial representations. This mentalist approach appears to have consequences in social sciences research for the way in which the use of the term “mental map” is gradually taking over that of cognitive map (Hatlova et Hanus, 2020) encouraging to consider them in literal, rather than metaphorical sense.

Social dimensions of such cognitive representations of space began to be developed in the mid 1970s, showing the significant recurrence of symbolic elements of urban space in free hand drawing (Milgram et Jodelet, 1976). Since then, many studies have looked at the psycho-sociological paradigm of social representations to demonstrate that spatial representations are real social representations (Jodelet, 1982).

Today, however, the analyses of social dimensions of spatial cognition are not unified. Some are based on cultural approaches (Helft, 2013), while others are simply focused on contrasts of socio-economic conditions. Moreover, sociologists have recently started looking at the socialisation of public spaces (Rivière, 2017), while demographists have long looked at socialisation processes in residential spaces (Bonvalet, 1993). In terms of sociological construction of “geographical experiences”, geographers and psychologists have recently developed research on the socialisation of geographical mobility and on territorialisation processes. However, it appears to us that these objects, analysed under a socialisation prism, should at the same time provide us with elements for understanding cognitive cartography.

The Cartotête network aimed at exploring such social dimensions which contribute to the construction of cognitive representations in space and, consequently, to territorialisation processes, in order to stimulate exchange of ideas on cognitive socio-mapping. Without neglecting the functional dimension of such representations, the network seeks to unify a research approach which deals with “mental maps” as objects revealing the articulation between relation with geographical space and relation with other individuals. While the first three study days (Clermont-Ferrans, 2014; Strasbourg, 2017 and Besançon, 2019) mainly focused on methodological aspects of socio-cognitive mapping, the forthcoming 4th study day of the network aims at encouraging exchanging of empirical work on socio-cognitive processes or socio-spatial processes of cognitive mapping. This is an international edition which will be organised by the Department of Political Sciences (DISPO) of the University of Genoa.

Three main research axes are proposed: 

Cognitive representations of space and relation with others

The aim will be the identification of the social dimensions of spatial representations, in terms of inter-individual and intergroup analysis. What are the links between group membership, trajectories and people's social positions and their representation of space? What do we learn from spatial representations about the relationship with others? Proposals can be both about appropriation conflicts of a space and about the articulation of different forms of appropriation of the same space. How can cognitive mapping contribute to underline the issues related to different perceptions, conceptions and experiences of the same territory?

Social, symbolic and collective dimensions of cognitive representations of space

In this case, two levels of analysis can be considered. Firstly, focusing on the ideological level, proposals can track a link between social representations and social dimensions of ideologies, beliefs, opinions (political, religious, cultural, technological, etc.), with a focus on socialization practices of space which underlie the ideological dimension of relation with space. The variety of spatial scales is sought after and can range from buildings (workplace,…), to neighbourhoods, to the city, etc. Secondly, focusing on the individual or collective level of the relation to space, the proposals can show the links between the meaning assigned to places and their spatial arrangement. How does the symbolic content of geographical objects (a monument, a neighbourhood, etc.) organize their spatial distribution? On these two levels, a particular attention may be given to the link between spatial representations of individual or collective memory, to the relationship between local and institutionalized memories (Halbwachs, 1941, Violi, 2014).

Cognitive representations of space and spatial distribution of the relationship network

This axis is specifically dedicated to the relationship between social practices and spatial representations, focusing on the effects of spatial distribution of the relationship network on the cognitive representation of geographical space. If the current social network is definitely of primary importance, we may however be interested in its evolution in time and space, in order to capture its historical thickness and its traces in current spatial representations. This will be the opportunity to discuss about how cognitive representations are constructed in relation to the spatial-temporal distribution of an individual's social network.

Timeline

  • January 25, 2021: call for papers in English, Italian and French.
  • April 30, 2021: deadline for the submission of abstracts (max 2500 characters).

  • July 2, 2021: response by the Scientific Committee.
  • September 30, 2021: deadline for the submission of papers.
  • October 28 – 29, 2021: study days (if necessary, they will take place in video-conference).

Submission guidelines

The abstracts (max 2500 characters, images included) must be written in English or French, and have to include the topic addressed, the method used and the main results that will be presented. The proposals should not exceed two pages («Word» document, Times New Roman Font, Size 12, 1.15 line spacing ) and they will include a title, the author(s)'s  name(s), their email addresses, the thematic axis addressed and at least one illustration of the socio-cognitive representations of the geographical space identified in the research. The proposals must be sent to the email colloquereseaucartotete@gmail.com, no later than April 30, 2021.

The papers accepted will be published.

Organising commitee

Scientific commitee

  • Sandra Breux, Laboratoire sur les élections locales, INRS, Montréal, Canada.
  • Anne-Christine Bronner, UMR SAGE (Société, acteurs, gouvernement en Europe), CNRS- Université de Strasbourg, France.
  • Kevin Clementi, UMR SAGE (Société, acteurs, gouvernement en Europe), CNRS- Université de Strasbourg, France.
  • Pierre Dias, UMR ESO (Espaces et sociétés), CNRS – Université de Rennes, France.
  • Antida Gazzola, CRAFTS (Centro studi urbani, territoriali e sociali), Genoa, Italy.
  • Sylvie Lardon, UMR Territoires, INRAE – Université Blaise Pascal, Clermont-Ferrand, France.
  • Sophie Mariani-Rousset, laboratoire ELLIADD (Edition, langages, littératures, informatique, arts, didactiques, discours), Université de Franche-Comté, Besançon, France.
  • Antonella Primi, Dipartimento di antichità, filosofia e storia - DAFIST, University of Genoa, Italy.
  • Thierry Ramadier, UMR SAGE (Société, acteurs, gouvernement en Europe), CNRS- Université de Strasbourg, France.
  • Mauro Spotorno, Dipartimento di Scienze Politiche - DISPO, University of Genoa, Italy.

References

Bonnes M., Secchiaroli  G. (2995). Psicologia ambientale. Introduzione alla psicologia sociale e ambientale, Carocci, Roma, 1992; engl. ed.,Environmental Psychology: A Psycho-social Introduction, SAGE Publications Ltd.

Bonvalet, C. (1993). Le transmis et l'acquis : localisation, statut d'occupation et type d'habitat, In C. Bonvalet et A. Gotman (eds.), Le logement, une affaire de famille, Paris, L’Harmattan, p. 23-40.

Casti E. (2019), Cartografia critica. Dal topos alla chora, Milano, Guerini e Associati.

Fornara F., Bonaiuto M., Bonnes  M. (2010)Indicatori di qualità urbana residenziale percepita (IQURP). Manuale d'uso di scale psicometriche per scopi di ricerca e applicativi, Milano, Franco Angeli.

Gazzola A. (2011), Uno sguardo diverso. La percezione sociale dell’ambiente naturale e costruito, Milano, Franco Angeli. 

Hafting, T., Fyhn,, M., Molden, S. et Moser M-B. (2005). Microstructure of a spatial map in the entorhinal cortex, Nature, 436, 801-806.

Halbwachs, M. (1941, 2008). La topographie légendaire des Évangiles en Terre sainte. Étude de mémoire collective, Paris, PUF.

Hatlova, K. et Hanus, M. (2020). A systematic review into factors influencing sketch map quality, International journal of geo-information, 9, 27.

Heft, H. (2013). Environment, cognition, and culture: Reconsidering the cognitive map. Journal of Environmental Psychology, 33, 14-25.

Jodelet, D. (1982). Les représentations socio-spatiales de la ville. In P.H. Derycke (Ed.), Conception de l'espace, Paris, Université de Paris X, 145-177.

Milgram, S. et Jodelet, D. (1976). Psychological maps of Paris, In H.M. Proshansky, W.H. Ittelson & L.G. Rivlin (Eds.), Environmental psychology: people and their physical setting, New-York: Holt Rinehart and Winston, 104-124.

O'Keefe J, Dostrovsky J. (1971). The hippocampus as a spatial map. Preliminary evidence from unit activity in the freely-moving rat, Brain Res.,  34, (1,)‎, 171–175

O'Keefe J., Nadel, L. (1978). The Hippocampus as a cognitive map, Oxford University Press.

Rivière, C. (2017). La fabrique des dispositions urbaines. Propriétés sociales des parents et socialisation urbaine des enfants, Actes de la recherche en sciences sociales, 216, 64-79.

Violi, P. (2014). Paesaggi della memoria. Bompiani : Milano.

Vallega A. (2008), Fondamenti di geosemiotica, Roma, Società Geografica Italiana.

Places

  • Genoa, Italian Republic

Date(s)

  • Friday, April 30, 2021

Keywords

  • cartographie cognitive, dimensions sociales, réseau Cartotête

Contact(s)

  • Antida Gazzola
    courriel : agazzola13 [at] gmail [dot] com

Information source

  • Sophie Mariani-Rousset
    courriel : smariani [at] univ-fcomte [dot] fr

To cite this announcement

« The social dimensions of cognitive cartography », Call for papers, Calenda, Published on Tuesday, February 09, 2021, https://calenda.org/841022

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