Digital Narratives and Witnessing: The Ethics of Engaging with Places at a Distance

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This article explores some of the geographies of crisis and conflict that have become increasingly visible through the use of digital technologies. It attends to the visual politics embedded within such images, whether these are photographs and videos shared through social media or maps produced on platforms such as Google Earth. It also discusses recent practices of spatial analysis that use a forensic approach. Through focusing on the Pakistani city of Gwadar in the restive Balochistan province, my aim is to reveal the complex layered narrative that emerges out of and about such a place through processes of visualisation. Gwadar oscillates between an anticipated role as a strategic regional port and the present reality of being positioned at the periphery. By working through these narratives, I explore what type of ethical spatial engagement is possible with such places that are often constructed as out-of-bounds by governments and non-state actors.
Original languageEnglish
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2016

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