Infoscience

Thesis

Rencontre de la science de l'information géographique et de l'anthropologie culturelle: modélisation spatiale et représentation de phénomènes culturels

Geographical Information Science and Cultural Anthropology are aimed to collaborate on development projects dedicated to indigenous communities. This fact is first based on a growing intention to integrate the reality and the perception of the development owned by the community. This movement, towards a stronger consideration of the community's point of view, is assigning to the anthropologist with a central importance in projects. He plays a leading part in linking the culture and the scientific disciplines involved in a project. Secondly, the geographic space, the community is evolving in, has its own organization and functioning. The recognized importance of space therefore implies the participation of the geographical information science specialist. The "rapprochement" of those disciplines with distant epistemologies constitutes the context of this study. At first sight, the use of a geographical information system by an anthropologist appears to be limited to the introduction of a new tool. For the specialist in geographical information science, the adaptation of the anthropological knowledge to the logic of the information systems seems to be a common problem of data structuring, analysis and mapping. The attempts of rapprochement to date aren't particularly successful. Their analysis brought us to formulate a statement of fact summarized in this research by the complexity versus simplicity paradox. The interaction between the two disciplines, given a concrete expression by the confrontation of their epistemologies, is at the origin of new problems and questions. Some of them are complex as this study shows. This research results corresponds to a twofold proposal for collaboration approaches. First, an innovative approach of modelling the anthropological knowledge in geographical information science is suggested. This approach introduces the concept of "knowledge model", dialogue object between the disciplines. Its establishment precedes the one of the conceptual data model. Second, an approach is developed for the conception of a visual and interactive interface. This computerized framework is set up in order to support interdisciplinary communication. Moreover, it allows products of the geographical information science to be accessible to the anthropologists. The pertinence and the reliability of the suggested approaches are established in terms of adequacy to the logic of each discipline, and of integration to the development projects. The associated contributions and limits are finally discussed, leading to some future prospects.

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