Counter-mapping is a practice which looks specifically at drawing as a method to contradict established, hegemonic traits within accepted or established cartography. As such, these drawn digital mappings serve three core theoretical functions:
Mapping Thatcher’s legislative changes which systematically dismantled the power of unions over a 13-year period, and transformed citizen’s understanding of the act of protest and how it should be pursued. Each act passed is powerful in isolation, but when visualised as a systematic series of changes; then the accumulative ideology becomes visible. What this lineage also reveals is the establishment of a completely new status quo, where acts such as “solidarity” protests are perceived differently by the next generation of union members, thus having the effect of dividing the collaborative potential of workers who may be experiencing similar battles over work and pay conditions.
This schematic version of the “protest Contingencies Timeline” looks at the social, political and economic structures on which the act of protest is contingent. Protest occurs at the disjunction between citizen expectation and the action (or inaction) of their representatives or key stake holders impacting over their daily life conditions. This mapping charts the instigation of protest action in the UK from 1381 to the present day – with the aim of understanding the act of protest as a practice representing alternative methods of constructing daily lives and challenging the existing power structures throughout history.
The aim of this map is to better understand where each popular protest action sits within the wider protest bubble. Understanding these activities as a connected series or body of responses to political decision making; creates the potential for observing the embryonic stages of alternative spatial practices, as they aim to shape the environs which we frequent. In this way, the diverse strategies developed within a particular knowledge base (group of activists or participants), are seen as conceptual approaches capable of being developed independently
Firstly, they make visible otherwise unseen or masked trajectories and continuities between events which we are familiar with. Secondly, the mapping allows the author to explore theoretical concepts developed in text, and augment them through a visual form of representation. Thirdly, the printed hard-copy versions of the mappings operate as a vehicle by which to inform discussion; operating as a bridge between different narratives and nuances of language which emerge when individuals or groups of individuals approach an issue from disparate points of view.
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