Reimagining the cartographic nation: In praise of risk taking

Published in Dialogues in Human Geography, 2021

I read Rossetto and Lo Presti’s article, ‘Reimagining the National Map’, as an invitation to develop what I call, following Eve Sedgwick, a reparative study of national cartographies. In this commentary, I enthusiastically support their call but also argue for the need to move from an appreciation of maps’ fundamental instability to a more daring engagement with the normative dimension of national mapping. Like many scholars working from a post-representational perspective, Rossetto and Lo Presti associate the fundamental dynamism and contingency of maps with (potential) positive social change and, more specifically, the development of multicultural national imaginaries. I suggest that these associations deserve further scrutiny and argue that change and ‘everydayness’ may offer a starting point, but not a basis for progressive national mappings. Finally, drawing on the thought-provoking examples presented by Rossetto and Lo Presti, I reflect on what principles and practices could guide a progressive national cartography of Italy in 2021.