Embodied geographies, naturalised boundaries, and uncritical geopolitics in La Frontière Invisible

Fall, Juliet (2006). Embodied geographies, naturalised boundaries, and uncritical geopolitics in La Frontière Invisible. Environment and Planning D: Society and Space, 24(5) pp. 653–669.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1068/d3704

Abstract

In this paper I explore embodiment and spatiality by discussing the example of a conflict between competing representations of landscapes and the female body in the two volumes of the comic books La Frontière Invisible. This piece of fiction deals specifically and explicitly with a reassessment of the gaze in the production of knowledge by examining maps as tools of power, control, and colonisation. However, despite an apparent desire to reject reactionary political approaches, the authors seem to associate the naturalised (female) body with (naturalised) geopolitical scenarios by fetishising the body through complex discursive transcodings between women and nature. In contrast to this, in this paper I suggest considering the body as a site and space of resistance to (political) imposition. Drawing on both feminist geography and critical geopolitics, I suggest an alternative way of considering the consequences of embodied geographies for cartography by examining the links between naturalised bodies and naturalised political boundaries. The main argument is that the body, by posing an uncontrollable, unpredictable threat to regular ways of producing cartographic knowledge, entails the possibility of a counterstrategic reinscription of spatial discourses and the creation of an alternative, more ethical cartography. This ethical cartography is rooted in embodied recalcitrance to imposed inscriptions associated with hegemonic positions.

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