The social history of maps, unlike that of literature, art, or music, appears to have few genuinely popular, alternative, or subversive modes of expression. Maps are preeminently a language of power, not of protest. […] Maps as an impersonal type of knowledge tend to ‘desocialise’ the territory they represent. They foster the notion of a socially empty space. The abstract quality of the map lessens the burden of conscience about people in the landscape. Decisions about the exercise of power are removed from the realm of immediate face-to-face contacts.
J.B. Harley, “Deconstructing the Map”