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Ripping up the Map Criminology and Cartography Reconsidered

NCJ Number
British Journal of Criminology Volume: 54 Issue: 2 Dated: March 2014 Pages: 222-243
Theo Kindynis
Date Published
March 2014
22 pages
This article discusses the use of cartography as a critical tool for crime mapping and fighting crime.
This article examines the fields of cartography and digital mapping to make the case for using maps and map making as tools for fighting crime. The article begins with an overview of the history of crime mapping, discussing its three defining moments: the use of maps in early 19th century France to illustrate various categories of crime throughout the country; the work of the Chicago School sociologists in the 1920s and 1930s and the development of the concentric zone model; and the increased interest in the spatial distribution of crime during the 1970s and 1980s. This is followed by a discussion of critical cartography and its implications for criminology. Critical cartography involves calling attention to the ways in which maps and map making are used as instruments of state control, especially involving struggles over territory and identity. The emergence of new digital mapping technologies has shown that cartography and maps can also be used as tools for social justice. This article presents an argument for criminologists to use cartography and map making as 1) an object for research and critique, 2) a methodological toolkit, and 3) a vehicle for social and political intervention. Figures and references