Ideologies in Geospatial Futurism: a computational and critical discourse inquiry into the ArcGIS and ESRI-blogs

ATTENEDER, Helena and RODRIGUEZ-AMAT, Joan (2024). Ideologies in Geospatial Futurism: a computational and critical discourse inquiry into the ArcGIS and ESRI-blogs. Media and Communication.

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Geographic Information Systems (GIS) are ubiquitous building blocks of geosurveillance environments embedded in everyday social practices. This article builds on the literature on geomedia, the criticisms of GIS, and the communicative spaces to delve into the realm of GIS-software and spatial analytics. The data corpus consists of ArcGIS and ESRI blogs on the Environmental Systems Research Institute (ESRI) site, which defines itself as the global market leader in GIS software, location intelligence, and mapping. This project assesses the impact of their discursive representations of the future and the societal implications of these views through an iterative process of computational and critical interpretive analyses - extending from LDA topic modeling to Critical Discourse Analysis - to unveil the ideological underpinnings of a corporate prescribed understanding of (GIS) future. The analysis reveals that representations of future in the main blogs of the geospatial industry are deeply embedded in ideological principles that emphasise perceived indispensability and technosolutionism as the inherent belief that complex social, political, and economic issues can be solved primarily or exclusively through technological means. The article identifies the rhetoric and structure operations in a discourse that ultimately kidnaps any alternatives of the future. The geospatial industry's representations of the future serve as ideological tools that shape perceptions about societal development and democratic well-being. The critical engagement with these representations contributes to understanding the role of GIS technology in the shaping of fair futures built on democratic public spheres in the digital age.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Computational Methods; Discourse Analysis; ESRI; Future Tropes; GIS; Geomedia; Ideology; Spatial analytics; Public Spheres; Topic modeling
Uncontrolled Keywords: 4701 Communication and media studies; 4702 Cultural studies
SWORD Depositor: Symplectic Elements
Depositing User: Symplectic Elements
Date Deposited: 23 Apr 2024 15:12
Last Modified: 23 Apr 2024 15:12

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