chapter  5
Mapping Iraq: Publics, Politics, Experts
Pages 20

This chapter is about the making of the Iraqi state following the Americanled invasion in 2003. In the aftermath of the war a network of cartographers, military units, bureaucrats, statisticians and auditors sought to organise and order, to make a sense of the physical and social landscape of Iraq. One outcome was a “state effect” (Mitchell, 1991), another was the production of a public who were to serve as audience to the state and its governance, as auditor of that governance and as an entity that could be governed in particular ways (and not in other ways). People and things were organised and categorised in ways that pointed to a cohesive unity that could be achieved even in the face of atavistic and divisive ethnic affi liations sometimes taken to be dominant in Iraq. Maps and statistics produced and represented this cohesion establishing certain narratives about people and things in Iraq and how they may be best governed. Such representations served to assuage the anxiety about Iraq being essentially ungovernable and doomed to falling apart into ethnic ghettoes. Perhaps most importantly the technicalisation of Iraq as a space conducive to administrative rule depoliticised oil. The focus came to be on technical questions of exploiting resources rather than ethical questions over ownership of resources and the right to rents. In this chapter I explore the nexus between the social and political production of space as a site of governance and the physical transformation of space through survey.