The map is the story: the U-shaped line in western news media coverage of the geopolitics of the South China Sea

Vujakovic, P. (2018) The map is the story: the U-shaped line in western news media coverage of the geopolitics of the South China Sea. International Journal of Cartography. ISSN 2372-9333. (In Press)

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Abstract

China's claim to a large part of the South China Sea (SCS) is indicated by a specific cartographic convention, the U-shaped (or dashed) line, shown on its official maps. The line has become an important element in Western popular discourse concerning the geopolitics of the SCS.

This paper argues that the cartographic re-presentation of the U-shaped line in the Western press contributes to an 'orientalist' conception that portrays China as 'other'; as aggressive and unwilling to 'play by the rules', and a portrayal of the whole region as potentially unstable. Its re-circulation may, however, work to China's advantage by reinforcing cartographic precedent and creating a specific 'geographic imagination' of the SCS. Maps are regarded as an important element in the 'spectacle of fear' propagated by the West, with the representations of the SCS shown to be part of a wider use of maps by the press to cover issues related to geopolitics and conflict.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Geopolitics; cartography; news-media
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > G Geography (General) > G3180 Maps
Divisions: Faculty of Social and Applied Sciences > School of Human and Life Sciences
Depositing User: Prof Peter Vujakovic
Date Deposited: 01 Nov 2018 09:32
Last Modified: 16 Nov 2018 15:00
URI: https://create.canterbury.ac.uk/id/eprint/17750

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Last edited: 29/06/2016 12:23:00