Monday, May 20, 2013

The View from Above

A plug for another very interesting book.

So far, from what I've read, this book is the perfect companion to Close Up At A Distance, which I recently blogged about.  The View from Above is much more influenced by French theory, especially Lefebvre, but it contains the following quote that gives some idea of what is to come:

"...the view from an airplane was crucial for connecting the 'social' with the 'spatial.'  Yet...Henri Lefebvre...expressed much suspicion of the aerial perspective, calling it the 'space of state control.'  In contrast to qualitative research methods, such as personal interviews with residents, quantitative methods such as cartography and aerial photography only served to 'flatten' the complexity of social life."

As we have come to know in GG3090 there is no neat way to separate qualitative and quantitative methods.  They are best used in conjunction with each other as another way of triangulating.  With qualitative GIS coming online, this book will take that 'final' step, the sensitive one of beginning to allow the quantitative into critical social theory.  Aerial photographs, with their aesthetic properties and immanently measurable qualities, might be just the way to go.

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