Using Maps to Influence Opinion and Control Behavior. Monmonier is Distinguished Professor of Geography at Syracuse University's Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs
Persuasive cartography: using maps to influence opinion and control behavior
All published maps are at least minimally rhetorical, but some are more actively
persuasive than others. This talk explores two particularly assertive modes of
persuasive cartography: political rhetoric and government regulation. Maps
intended to leverage opinion for or against a particular proposal, deed, product,
or political viewpoint can draw on a range of strategies that include falsification,
exaggeration, satire, appeal for sympathy, and emblematic iconography. Though
visually provocative, these maps are perhaps more effective in reinforcing
existing viewpoints than in changing minds. By contrast, maps intended to
tell us where not to go or what not to do typically rely upon visually mundane
boundaries or classifications, which the map author assumes will be obeyed.
The increased prominence of prohibitive cartography in the twentieth century
reflects the map’s effectiveness in advertising restrictions as well as increased
government regulation. Advances in geospatial technology suggest a more
assertively Orwellian future for prohibitive cartography.
Events are free and open to the public unless otherwise noted.