The developrnent of European c.rtogr.phy pl.yed. role in the rn.king of this notion of space (Sparke, 2005). In truth, ’cartography apprehends space as pure quantity, abstracted from the qualities ofmeaning and experience ... Such abstraction, ob;ectification, and differentiation are characteristically modern. Cartographic space is analogous to the modern apprehension of time, a qu.ntity [that can bel measured .. .’ (Biggs, 1999: 38()-387).
If so, as Farinelli (1994) points out, the history of this notion of space is even lengthier and can be traced, together with the invention of cartography, back to pre-Socratic philosophers such as Anaximander and to Roman cartographers, like Ptolemy. Their legacy disappeared from the Western imagination with the Roman Empire, only to return at the beginning of the fifteenth century with the Italian renaissance, the revaluation and revival of Antiquity, and the rediscovery of Ptolemy’s geography. Later on, the development
of state geography (Farinelli, 1985) and ’the interplay of cartographie
and statistical surveys ... established “society” as a field of action,
and population (as] defmed by the state territory’ (Hakli, 2001: 414).
Moreover, the explosion of scientific inquiry through the Enlightenment added to the view that ’ the world could be controlled and rationally ordered if we could only picture and represent it rightly’. As pointed out by Alliès (1980) and noted by Antonsich (2009: 796), a contribution to this conceptualisation of space was also ofIered by the ;urists of Europe’s absolutist monarchies who needed to ’abolish the heterogeneity of places and make them (and the difIerent people who lived within them) equal under the law’.
The process had many spatial consequences. The fust is the crystallisation of reality, which is multidimensional and naturally changing, into something flat and static. The second is its simplification: on a map something is there or not there, included or excluded, whereas language allows much more detail. Moreover, maps enjoy the power to divide political spaces, fixing local, national and international boundaries. They function as logomaps,
defining national terri tories in easily recognisable sliapes (Anderson,
1991). They inscribe names, shapes and signs, turning those portions of space into symbolic landscapes (Sturani, 2008). Together with statistics, they connect space to state government. Thus, the geo-metrification of the world though its cartographical representation sacrificed its fluidity and variety in exchange for the possibility of dividing and dominating it.