Children’s World

Looking at the map, you notice that there is an overwhelming amount of blue area. Looking closer, it doesn’t even look like a map, much less a map of the entire world. If not for the title, “Children’s World Map,” it would be hard to believe that this is a map at all. As indicated by the line beneath the title, this map only includes countries that have a ban on the corporal punishment of children. Corporal punishment is defined as the use of physical force causing pain, but not wounds as a means of discipline. This map is compelling because it uses a few techniques to make an argument to promote social change.

This map was published by an organization called Save the Children. Save the Children works to better the lives of children around the world. The corporal punishment of children is something that his organization is against, and it is displayed in this map. This shows how non-profit organizations can use cartography to as a tool to protest state power. The first thing that stands out is the small number of countries drawn on the map. Also, the size of the countries compared to the rest of the map. Both of these indicate that they are pushing for more countries to place a ban on corporal punishment. These countries are considered “safe” for children by the organization because these countries have placed a ban on corporal punishment. This map is drawn to show how little of the world is “safe” for children. The fact that there are not many countries, and the choice to draw them small indicate that Save the Children believes there should be more countries that ban the corporal punishment of children in order to fill up more of the map.

The words and labels on the map play a part in sending the message this map intends. The title, “Children’s World Map,” as well as the labeling of the oceans, clarifies that this is a map of the entire world, because it is difficult to tell due to the small number of countries. The title also indicates that this is the “children’s world,” the world where children live without corporal punishment. The line under the title clearly defines the criteria for making the map, which helps to hint at the hidden agenda of the map. The labelling of the ocean not only makes it more obvious that it is a world map, but it also indicates that they could expand this map in future editions. The hope is that there will be a bigger map with more countries in future versions of this map.

This map makes effective use of its “silences”. J.B. Harley wrote about “silences” in maps and the kind of power they can have on the reader. A big “silence” in this map is all the countries that were not included. This map uses this “silence” to focus the reader on what is not on the map as opposed to what is on the map. Leaving the countries off of the map entirely is more powerful than, say making the countries a different color.

Although the map was originally released in Sweden, the map had ties to the United Nations, which gave it more of an international audience. Sweden was the first country to ban the corporal punishment of children. This means that the map was intended to show the rest of the world the countries that were following Sweden. Most of the countries that qualified for the map are in Europe, indicating that they are spreading awareness, but haven’t spread worldwide yet. This map asserts that these countries are more advanced on the issue of corporal punishment and hints that Europeans have to help the rest of the world catch up with them. Essentially, they are creating a new world with this map that is still under construction.

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5 Responses to Children’s World

  1. Shuyi Chen says:

    I love the map! At my first glance, it is not a normal map with boundaries within countries. It only includes the countries that enact a ban on the children corporal punishment. The countries that do not show in the map silently spread the awareness of protecting the children all over the world. Considering the title of the map, we can easily regard the countries with ban on children corporal punishment as the real “Children’s World”. As a college student, the children’s map is more likely to strike a sympathetic resonance in my heart and mind rather than a political map or military map does. Hope the map will be completed in the future and the entire world is just “Children’s World” .

  2. ab3sj says:

    I think this is very interesting map and the point the author is trying to make is loud and clear. By the way the countries are sized, there is an overwhelming amount of blue space, suggesting there is minimal land children can safely and freely live on. I also noticed that in addition to the miniature size of the countries, the names labeling these countries are in a much smaller font than the labels of the oceans, creating an even bigger contrast between open blue space and countries with a ban on children corporal punishment. One interesting thing I noticed is that many third world countries are on this map, whereas some of the world powers, including the United States, are not. What does this say about society around the world? As we lead more comfortable, fortunate lives, do we begin to lose sight of our morals?

  3. Maggie Latimer says:

    This is a really cool map. It’s so blank, it was actually a bit difficult to decipher at first what exactly I’m looking at. With many of the world’s largest nations (e.g. Canada, Russia, China, Australia, the US, etc.) missing, the earth seems flooded with blue ink. I really love that the largest silence of this map is the entire point. The cartographer’s decision to simply erase those countries makes a powerful statement to all nations, especially in a global setting such as the UN. Every state being represented – or not represented – implies that regardless of how advanced these developed countries are, we still have a ways to go in terms of human rights.

    Awesome choice and great analysis of your map!

  4. rg3zx says:

    The reason why I find this map so intriguing is how it depicts such a taboo and terrible topic such as the corporal punishment of children. That said, this map continues on by using a seemingly completely normal map, as far as the projection, color, etc. An interesting question to ponder could be how a mapmaker might approach this topic by producing a more “adult” map, that might address the topic without using a typical projection and colors.

  5. Luke says:

    This map clearly stands out at first glance due to its use with distortion of scale. I also find the topic “Countries with ban on corporal punishment for children” a rather extreme one and find it interesting that world leaders such as the United States and Asia have not banned it. Therefore this map is making a point that even some of the most developed countries have yet to ban this major issue in their society. Overall, this makes a major human rights statement to a plethora of countries.

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