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Title: Anchoring digital maps as rough guides : a practice-orientated digital sociology of map use
Author: Hanchard, Matthew S.
ISNI:       0000 0004 9347 0510
Awarding Body: Newcastle University
Current Institution: University of Newcastle upon Tyne
Date of Award: 2019
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This thesis provides a theoretical contribution towards understanding how, and to what extent, people’s engagements with digital maps feature in the constitution of their social practices. Existing theory tends not to focus on people as active interpreters that engage with digital maps across a variety of contexts, or on the influence of their map use on wider sets of social practices. Addressing this, the thesis draws on practice theory, media studies, and internet studies to develop a conceptual framework, applying it to empirical findings to address three research questions: (1) How do people engage with digital maps; (2) How do people engage with the web-based affordances of digital maps, such as those for collaboration, sharing, and end-user amendment/generation of content; and (3) What influence does people’s engagement with digital maps have on the way they perform wider sets of social practices? The research provides insights from three contexts, each operating at a different temporal scale: home choice covers longer-term processes of selecting and viewing properties before buying or renting; countryside leisure-walking covers mid-term processes of route-planning and assessment; University orientation covers shorter-term processes of navigation and gaining orientation around campus. Those insights are gathered through: a scoping survey (N=260) to identify relevant contexts; 32 semi-structured interviews to initiate data analysis; and 3 focus groups to gather participant feedback (member validation) on the emerging analysis. The approach to data analysis borrows heavily from constructivist grounded theory (albeit sensitised by practice theory ontology) to generate seven concepts. Together, the concepts constitute a practicetheory oriented digital sociology of map use. Overall, this thesis argues that digital maps are engaged with as mundane technologies that partially anchor people’s senses of place and security (physical and ontological), their performance of practices and social positions, and more broadly, the movement and distribution of bodies in space.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available