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Critique and its discontents: GIS and its critics in postmillennial geographies

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Thesis type
(Thesis) M.A.
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In 2000, Schuurman argued that despite a decade of critique of GIS, human geographers had little impact on the technology due to their inability to articulate critiques in a language relevant to its architectures. An assessment of what has changed in postmillennial geographies remains outstanding. This thesis argues that although critiques have moved beyond emphases on positivism, they remain epistemological in substance. This continued epistemological thrust is associated with an internal metaphysics consonant with poststructuralism that is incommensurable with ontological and epistemological commitments expressed by the discourse of GIScience. GIScience and critical/cultural geography are separated by a philosophical divide. Assessments of GIS tendered under a poststructuralist metaphysics represent a profound disconnect from the technology. This disconnect is identified as a series of logical inconsistencies - notably implication of the epistemic fallacy, and an ‘undoing’ of the metaphysics of presence - that incorrectly locate GIS outside of the material ontological.
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