Carlin2017

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Carlin2017
BibType ARTICLE
Key Carlin2017
Author(s) Andrew Carlin
Title Navigating the walkways: Radical inquiries and mental maps
Editor(s)
Tag(s) EMCA, Walking, Mental, Foundationalism, Public Space
Publisher
Year 2017
Language English
City
Month
Journal Ethnographic Studies
Volume 14
Number
Pages 24-48
URL Link
DOI doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.823092
ISBN
Organization
Institution
School
Type
Edition
Series
Howpublished
Book title
Chapter

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Abstract

This paper provides consideration of “mental maps” as an analytic device, and the im- portation of foundational theorising in new disciplinary environments. “Mental maps” – as representations, mental imagery, even a shared “mental topography” – is a popular and readily available device with which to conceptualise how we orient to our world (Gould & White 1974). The deployment of “mental maps” is frequent and extends be- yond psychology (Blaut et al. 2003; Lloyd 2000; Lobben 2004; Xirogiannis et al. 2004), as conceptualisations reliant upon mental representations and cognition theories en- croach upon other disciplines. This does not mean that the psychologistic reductions in- volved in the importation of mental maps as interdisciplinary work are diluted: the cog- nitivism of mental maps is preserved in new interdisciplinary settings. Mental maps, as “explanatory fctions” (Coulter 1979), provide cover for analysts searching for patterns that draw together a patchwork of “data” (e.g. Matei et al. 2001). What I suggest in this paper is that mental maps are themselves iterative of foundational- ist approaches; that mental maps are inappropriate means to describe social organisa- tional phenomena; that the appeal to mental maps adds unnecessary complexity to analyses; and that mental maps work to distance the reader of analyses from the phe- nomena that they purportedly describe.

Notes