The bog in our brain and bowels: Social attitudes to the cartography of Icelandic wetlands

Edward H. Huijbens, Gísli Pálsson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


This paper discusses the social history, attitudes, and understanding of approaches to the utilisation of wetlands, their drainage, preservation, management, and research. The analysis is in two phases; the manifestation of wetlands in map making in Iceland; and the social history of wetlands. Both phases focus on the 20th century until the present. Maps and the history of mapmaking are used as a heuristic devise to gauge and set the scene for the perception and experience of wetlands in the thinking of people. In order to illustrate this development, examples are taken from literature and travel accounts. Current endeavour in the utilisation of land and biotopic classification, best demon-strated in maps today, foregrounds the nature of the striations, making maps, and drainage ditches. Thus wetlands are viewed differently today, but nonetheless lingering traces of the modernist logic of progress remain, as we aim to demonstrate. The lines that form the tufts on the Icelandic maps are thus never stable, the striation never an end but constantly motile.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)296-316
Number of pages21
JournalEnvironment and Planning D: Society and Space
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2 Nov 2009
Externally publishedYes

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