Social Imaginaries of Space
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Social Imaginaries of Space

Concepts and Cases

Bernard Debarbieux

Travelling through various historical and geographical contexts, Social Imaginaries of Space explores diverse forms of spatiality, examining the interconnections which shape different social collectives. Proposing a theory on how space is intrinsically linked to the making of societies, this book examines the history of the spatiality of modern states and nations and the social collectives of Western modernity in a contemporary light.
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Chapter 6: Case 3: science and state imaginary in colonial Indochina

Bernard Debarbieux


A “psychedelic nightmare” is how A. Terry Rambo (1997, p. 8), a Vietnam scholar, considers the job of the cartographer who has to represent the localization of the "hundreds of different cultural groups peppered in the landscape" of North Vietnam's heights. This cartographer chooses to represent "a multi-hued kaleidoscope of tiny dots and splotches" to account for the many entwined population. Even so, such a map only tells an imperfect story of the reality because heterogeneity prevails down to the scale of the villages' populations.

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