Digital mapping as feminist method: critical reflections

Dr Bianca Fileborn1

1School of Social & Political Sciences, University of Melbourne

Digital maps have been taken up as a productive tool in both activism and academic research.

However, there has been less consideration of their use as a research method in qualitative social sciences research. In this presentation, I aim to contribute towards a dialogue on qualitative research by providing a critical reflection on the use of digital mapping as a research method in a feminist research project on street-based harassment in Australia. Drawing on practices of reflexivity, as well as comments made by participants across 46 qualitative interviews, I consider how digital mapping can be used to facilitate feminist research, arguing that it represents a generative instrument which lends itself to the development of in-depth insights from participants. Yet, mapping also delimits the epistemological possibilities of qualitative research, and I consider how this method simultaneously constrains what can be known about street harassment.


Dr Bianca Fileborn (she/they) is a Senior Lecturer in Criminology and ARC DECRA Fellow in the School of Social and Political Sciences, University of Melbourne. Bianca’s current work includes developing victim-centred justice responses to street and public harassment, sexual violence and LBGT+ communities, and representations of survivor identity in music. They are the author of Reclaiming the night-time economy: unwanted sexual attention in pubs and clubs (Palgrave) and co-editor of #MeToo and the Politics of Social Change, and the forthcoming Geographies of Gender-Based Violence.


Dec 09 2021