Digital and non-digital representations as actors in the enactment of selfhood and community on the Appalachian Trail

Dave McLaughlin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
18 Downloads (Pure)


Cultural geographers working with non-representational theories have recently returned to thinking about representations as actors in the relational processes of making spaces, selfhood and communities. A particular focus for studies of literary texts is examining how representation ‘takes place’, how texts are part of what happens in the world, and how we can better understand the force of representations-in-relation at work. In this paper I will address this question, by examining the role that representations play as actors in the production of community and selfhood among hikers on the Appalachian Trail. As hiker representations straddle digital and non-digital media in the twenty-first century, scholarly approaches continue to view them as little more than mediators, or ersatz forms of, in-person speech. Here, I take a non-representational approach to hiker writings to focus on the relationships that develop between AT hikers and the writings they encounter as a means of understanding how these representations-in-relation take place on the trail, and how they contribute to what happens - that is, to the production of community and subjectivity among Appalachian Trail hikers.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)912-929
Number of pages18
JournalSocial and Cultural Geography
Issue number6
Early online date13 Nov 2021
Publication statusPublished - 3 Jul 2023

Bibliographical note

© 2021 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.

This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


  • Appalachian Trail
  • Non-representational
  • digital geographies
  • hiking
  • selfhood
  • stories

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Cultural Studies


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