November 22, 2012

is there a space in cyberspace for geography ?

Searching and searching for everything and anything we still haven't found and if already found then searching how to reconstruct and reinvent. Like the new urban image the WIFI-scape or Urban terrain as the Norvegian YOUrban group calls it.
That's who we want to be - the Inventors.

LightPainting WIFI from YOUrban group (
And so we need more 'space' for Inventions, and so we expand it! Expanding spaces, realities, cognition.. 
Does this expansion affect us as individuals, as society? Does it also expands our research raising new questions, opening new fields or even forming new sub-sciences or indeed it just let us create new terms and subjects to manipulate about the the same things like spaces?
Such questions grew up after reading an article about the Geography and Cyberspace by M. Graham. Indeed an interesting and easy to go article well presenting the background or the 'hi-/-story' of a cyberspace. What the most interests me is the relation of cyberspace with geography. As it's clear geographers don't seem interested in this topic (no big research done) at all, but as the author tries to prove they should be, because the cyberspace as itself is a sort of space and therefore it should also be reviewed from geographical perspective.
At that point it seems for me that the article is written in as much serious as with a slight ironic mood
rhetorically asking aren't we just indeed play around with cyberspace metaphor at some point. Well, read yourself, maybe I'm interpreting wrong.

The word cyberspace has a part of 'space' as a word, but that's all we are sure about.
I wonder how much geographical that space is?

People are so much used to use the word geography for just defining any kind of space as location that sometimes it seems to me we are loosing the meaning of Geography as a science. Plus there is a word place and even more different words in different languages carrying similar meanings. At the end noone is really sure which meaning is hiding under a particular word used by someone. 
But well, Geography as a science is not less 'messy', meaning that it is nearly as many definitions as geographers :). And it is also because of mutation of Geography itself. Looking at the origin it is the most clear. The part Geo already bounds our interest within the Earth. But since geography started mutated it was more defined as a science for analyzing the processes of/on/within the Earth where the humans reach, like the human-sphere. And now it reaches so far! Then the question comes if that expanded sphere by human space travels expands the geography? But all that was still within physical space, where people can get into some kind of contact with space.

Meanwhile cyberspace expands to a mental(!) space, and that is not what comes 'by default' into the meaning of 'geo'. But people more and more lean their eyes toward augmented spaces as well as meta spaces or mind spaces, where I would put all the semantics. That is those new 'spaces' that are being explored now. But how much are they geographical??? 

M. Graham, the author of the article about Cyberspace, is mostly asking the question if people are exploring maybe geographers as scientists should also research it and as he sums up "the internet is characterised by complex spatialities which are challenging to understand and study, but that doesn't give us an excuse to fall back on unhelpful metaphors <meaning cyberspace here> which ignore the internet's very real, very material, and very grounded geographies." But there is no discussion given how much material as well as how much geographical such space is.

Personally I believe such space should be defined social as well as psychological or mental since that cyberspace or cyber-thing is our imaginary space. No possible physical contact is possible. Other then that this space is not more than Absolute space (which is again not a geographical perspective). I tend to think that any kind of geographic research like trying to locate cyber-things can be done just through the people themselves, through their perception and their cognition and that gets us to something like mind mapping. It really would be an interesting research and could lead to more tight relation of geography and psychology that has been in winter-sleep for a while. But it can turn out that within such research Geography would be completely lost and it will get just within the interest of psychology.
Well, in any case it is an interesting topic to work on!

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