Affective geographies of models and modelling

  • Robert James MacKinnon

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


With reference to three contexts of models and modelling practice (hydraulic models of environmental systems, model railways and miniature wargaming), this thesis asserts the importance of geography in understanding what models can be, what and how they can do, and how and why models may be made and engaged with. The thesis traces spatialities of models and modelling via conceptions of affect, emotion and feeling, alongside abstraction, the miniature and mimesis, in order to highlight how space is central to lived and embodied engagements with models and modelling. This thesis makes several contributions. Firstly, this thesis gives shape to five key interrelated ‘geographies of models and modelling’, these are; one: models and modelling can generate space-times, and in so doing, produce affective engagements with those space-times. Two: models, modelling and material and embodied affects can shape how spaces (including models) may be constituted, affected, encountered and engaged with. Three: practice can inform modelling as a representational practice and be important to models as representations. Four: modelling as a mimetic practice which, as well as model and modelling engagements, can involve embodied relations whether with places, landscapes, environments, events, people, materials, objects (including models), and temporalities of pasts, presents and futures. Finally, five: model and modelling engagements can be involved with the miniature and an ‘affirmative critique’ of abstraction. Through these geographies and the theoretical underpinnings of this thesis, the second core contribution: six broad lessons about models and modelling. These are; one: models and modelling and the absence and presence of possession. Two: modelling as a negotiated practice. Three: modelling as ‘drawing out elements of the world’. Four: models and modelling as connecting us with the world. Five: models and modelling and human and non-human relations. Finally, six: models and modelling and the more-than-representational.
Date of Award28 Sept 2016
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Aberystwyth University
SupervisorPeter Merriman (Supervisor) & Gareth Hoskins (Supervisor)

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