In This Article Geography of Cyberspace

  • Introduction
  • General Overviews
  • The Context of Cyberspace
  • Geographic Definitions of Cyberspace
  • Comparative Perspectives on the Geographic Definitions of Cyberspace
  • Spatial Connotations of Cyberspace
  • Cyberspace and the Emergence of Hybrid Space
  • Hybrid Space Views
  • The Alternative View of Spatial Media

Geography Geography of Cyberspace
by
Aharon Kellerman
  • LAST MODIFIED: 28 March 2018
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199874002-0190

Introduction

Cyberspace, as an image space, constitutes a virtual and nonmaterial entity that consists of computer and transmission codes and carries a geographical name as a metaphor. As such, it has received geographical interpretations and meanings. Cyberspace constitutes a subset of virtual space, which also includes printed works such as paintings and maps. Cyberspace has been frequently used as a synonym for Internet space, but as noted later in this bibliography, Internet space is actually a subset of cyberspace, whereas cyberspace includes Internet space, side by side with television and radio broadcasts. Following a general overview, our elaborations will attempt to highlight the following dimensions of cyberspace: the Context of Cyberspace; some Geographic Definitions of Cyberspace; Comparative Perspectives on the Geographic Definitions of Cyberspace; Spatial Connotations of Cyberspace; Cyberspace and the Emergence of Hybrid Space; Hybrid Space Views; and, finally, the Alternative View of Spatial Media.

General Overviews

The field of geography of cyberspace is relatively new, emerging just before the introduction of the commercial Internet in 1995. Despite its young age as a virtual entity developed and used by people, the impact of cyberspace on everyday life has become wide ranging. So far, there are no full-scale books attempting to present some general overviews of the geography of cyberspace. However, there are a number of overviews of cyberspace in its connotation as the Internet space, focusing on some specific perspectives and dimensions of the geography of cyberspace. The wide variety of angles for examining cyberspace that have been proposed and discussed in these partial overviews portray the difficulty involved in writing single-volume general overviews of the geography of the Internet and/or cyberspace. Thus, Kellerman 2002 exposed the terrestrial geography of the Internet and cyberspace and their context within the geography of information. This was followed by the elaboration in Loo 2012 on the e-society, and by the exposure of the global geographies of the Internet in Warf 2013. These books were followed by Kellerman 2014, an exposition of the Internet as the second action space for humans, and Kellerman 2016, an elaboration of the Internet as a space that can be analyzed and interpreted through the ways and tools that have been developed for the analysis of real space. Hence, all the above-mentioned volumes are rather complementary to each other. From yet another perspective, Graham 2013 offered another type of review for cyberspace, focusing specifically on the history and use of the term cyberspace, and offering some criticism of its use by geographers. There are no specialized journals devoted to the geography of cyberspace, so that articles on the topic have been published mainly in general geography and related journals. Furthermore, geographers have not been the exclusive writers on the geography of cyberspace, so that academics from additional spatial sciences (e.g., architects and media specialists), as well as scholars from other disciplines (e.g., philosophers), have contributed to the study of the topic.

  • Graham, Mark. “Geography/Internet: Ethereal Alternate Dimensions of Cyberspace or Grounded Augmented Realities?” Geographical Review 179.2 (2013): 177–182.

    E-mail Citation »

    Reviews the use of cyberspace for the Internet system by both academics and policymakers. The article further criticizes the use of a spatial metaphor for the relations among machines and their users, and it calls for geographers to lead in the development of more nuanced spatial views of the Internet.

  • Kellerman, Aharon. The Internet on Earth: A Geography of Information. London and New York: Wiley, 2002.

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    Presents the geography of information, and that of the Internet within it. The geography of the Internet, as presented in the book, covers the perspectives of information production, contents, transmission, media, and consumption. The exemplary data are obviously now outdated.

  • Kellerman, Aharon. The Internet as Second Action Space. London and New York: Routledge, 2014.

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    Exposes the Internet as a “second action space” for individuals, enhanced through the growing use of smartphones. As such, the Internet may complement, or compete with and replace, real space, notably for the satisfaction of people’s basic needs, the satiation of curiosity, the expression of personal identity, the performance of daily activities, and interpersonal interactions through social networking.

  • Kellerman, Aharon. Geographic Interpretations of the Internet. Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Springer, 2016.

    DOI: 10.1007/978-3-319-33804-0E-mail Citation »

    Presents a scalar for virtual, cyber, and Internet spaces, and then argues for the need to interpret and analyze Internet screen spaces using parameters and dimensions employed for the analysis and interpretation of real space. These include ground, place, regions, boundaries, distance and distance decay, mobility, and spatial cognition.

  • Loo, Becky P. Y. The E-Society. Hauppauge, NY: Nova Science, 2012.

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    This book offers a wide-ranging view of the e-society, based on the wide availability of computers and smartphones. It focuses on e-government, e-commerce, e-working, and e-networking. It presents wide and comparative data from numerous countries.

  • Warf, Barney. Global Geographies of the Internet. Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Springer, 2013.

    DOI: 10.1007/978-94-007-1245-4E-mail Citation »

    In this volume, Internet penetration and uses are systematically traced in different world regions, highlighting the dimensions of growth, divides, censorship, e-commerce, e-government, and social media in numerous countries.

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