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Department of Geography


Cartographies, state formations and counter-mapping in the Andes

Sarah Radcliffe’s research on this topic covers a number of strands, exploring the postcolonial context within which states form and map themselves as territories, the ways that uneven development constitutes spaces for indigenous populations, and the counter-mapping projects undertaken by indigenous people and organisations.

In recent research in Ecuador, the digitalisation and neoliberalisation processes that drive changing uses and ends of geographical techniques were the focus, and revealed how new, non-state actors and institutions were driving a diversification of geographies in the country.

In another piece of research involving collaboration with indigenous organisations too, Professor Radcliffe analysed how map-making represents a specific arena within which the negotiations over place, identity and power occur under neoliberal multiculturalism.

Graduate student Penelope Anthias has examined the process by which Guarani Territorios Comunitarios de Origen (TCOs) in Bolivia were imagined, mapped and entered in to land titling processes, and the challenges for indigenous efforts to gain territories in a region with increasingly politically- and economically-significant hydrocarbon extraction.


Recent related publications include:

  • Merino, Maria-Eugenia, Webb, Andrew, Radcliffe, Sarah, Becerra, Sandra & Aillañir, Carmen Gloria. 2020 Laying claims on the city: young Mapuche ethnic identity and the use of urban space in Santiago, Chile, Latin American and Caribbean Ethnic Studies 15(1): 1-22. DOI: 10.1080/17442222.2020.1698179
  • Anthias, Penelope and Radcliffe, S.A. 2013 ‘The ethno-environmental fix and its limits: Indigenous land titling and the production of not-quite-neoliberal natures in Bolivia.’ Special issue ‘Not quite neoliberal natures’ K. Bakker (ed.) Geoforum online 24 July 2013 doi:10.1016/j.geoforum.2013.06.007
  • Radcliffe, Sarah A 2011 ‘Third Space, abstract space and coloniality: National and subaltern cartography in Ecuador’ in Postcolonial Spaces: The politics of place in contemporary culture, A Teverson and S Upstone (eds.). London, Palgrave.
  • Radcliffe, Sarah A 2011 ‘Representing the nation’ in Mapping Latin America: Space and Society, 1492-2000. K Offen and J Dym (eds), Chicago, University of Chicago Press
  • Radcliffe, Sarah A 2010 ‘Re-Mapping the Nation: Cartography, geographical knowledge and Ecuadorian multiculturalism.’ Journal of Latin American Studies 42(2) May: 293-323
  • Radcliffe, Sarah A 2009 National maps, digitalisation and neoliberal cartographies: Transforming nation-state practices and symbols in postcolonial Ecuador.’ Trans. Institute of British Geographers 34: 426-444, October
  • Radcliffe, Sarah A. 2001 ‘Imagining the state as space: territoriality and the formation of the state in Ecuador,’ In T Blom Hanson and F Stepputat (eds.) States of imagination: ethnographic explorations of the postcolonial state. Duke University Press, pp. 123-145.