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Mobilising bodies: difference , power and ecology in urban cycling practices. Anna Davidson Transport Studies Unit School of Geography & Environment University of Oxford. Outline. Background Literature context A space for critical theory?

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mobilising bodies difference power and ecology in urban cycling practices

Mobilising bodies: difference, power and ecology in urban cycling practices

Anna Davidson

Transport Studies Unit

School of Geography & Environment

University of Oxford

outline
Outline
  • Background
  • Literature context
  • A space for critical theory?
  • Unpacking power, bodily/urban ecologies & difference (with critical theory)
  • Research questions
  • Methodology
  • Fieldwork sites
slide4
Image source: http://www.lolwithme.org/?tag=this-one-runs-on-money-and-makes-you-fat
slide5
Image source: http://hazler.files.wordpress.com/2010/07/picture-53.png
literature context cycling practices
Literature context – cycling practices
  • Cycling and bodies…
  • Psychological/economics – behaviour change “nudge”
  • Public health (safety, obesity, activity levels)
  • Sustainability (reduction in air pollution, carbon footprints)
  • Urban planning & transport

BUT aggregated, categorized bodies…. “Real bodies moving have never been at the top of the agenda in transport studies” (Creswell, 2010, p.19)

Cycling bodies in socialcontexts:

  • Micro: Individual embodied experiences (Dewsbury 2011; Jones; Spinney)
  • Meso: Cycling as group politics & citizenship (e.g. Aldred) Critical mass (Furness)
  • Macro: Socio-technical change, systems theory. Automobility dominant paradigm, cycling as subaltern mode (Urry; Geels)

BUT…what structures ‘normal’, embedded normative assumptions (‘good’ bodies/cities/lifestyles/progress)? Who gains/loses – why? - power

fragile bodies body thing assemblages disassembled
http://www.standard.co.uk/news/london/carnage-on-londons-streets-as-cyclist-hit-by-coach-is-left-fighting-for-life-just-hours-after-man-is-killed-by-lorry-8923706.htmlhttp://www.standard.co.uk/news/london/carnage-on-londons-streets-as-cyclist-hit-by-coach-is-left-fighting-for-life-just-hours-after-man-is-killed-by-lorry-8923706.htmlFragilebodies(body-thing assemblagesdisassembled?)
bodily ecologies
Image source: https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-Zoh4wVU221s/UjEc-dOPqEI/AAAAAAAAEOU/mG38yi7s_jA/s0/photo.jpg and http://thewheeloftime.biz/bike-riding-a-little-rough Bodily ecologies

Baksteen to bakfiets

slide12
Image source: http://ovarianpsycos.com/clitoral-mass-2/and html http://ovarianpsycosdotcom.files.wordpress.com/2013/05/253199_10151462348799611_595298254_n.jpg?w=540

Power as biopower, life & death

power in the normal mundane movements of bodies
Image source: http://www.strangedangers.com/content/item/181590.Power in the ‘normal’ & mundanemovementsof bodies
othered contexts
‘Othered’ contexts

“the bicycle is often seen as an intermediate stage in what could be termed the transport development cycle as countries progress from low to high car ownership and eventually back to low impact travel” (MacKinnon et al, 2008 in Pooley et al., 2013)

research questions
Research Questions
  • How can theorizations of bodies, cycles and urban environments (assembled together as urban body-ecologies) help construct understandings and practices that move towards healthier, more inclusive, ‘sustainable’ cities?
  • How can we understand the ways bodily differences and norms of cycling body-ecologies are constituted in different contexts and under different relations of power?
  • In what ways might bodies engaged in everyday urban cycling practices represent a form of resistance against dominant systems, normativities, ideologies and means of/towards mobility.
  • What are the creative and political implications of undertaking research as ‘creative contagion’ – bringing into contact divergent cycling practices from different contexts, using collaborative, action-based research methods?
methodology creative contagion
Methodology “creative contagion”
  • Approach: inspired by epistemologies associated with critical theory
  • Assumptions:
    • Methods themselves co-create what is studied (Law, Latour)
    • Role of researcher – embodied, self-reflexive

Lends itself to: participative & action research

what how
What & how

Ethnographic methods:

  • Participant observation
  • Informal semi-structured interviews
  • Video diaries/ mobile video/ audio interviews

Documentary data:

  • Policy documents
  • Publications/websites/video output

Participatory research:

  • Video exchanges & reflections shared between contexts (potentially: focus on ‘nomadic subjects’ – individuals who have moved between contexts)
  • Creation of a platform for sharing (website/blog/Youtube)
questions
Image source: Mike Kemp: http://cdn.c.photoshelter.com/img-get2/I0000We39kAQunnc/fit=1000x750/20100612world-naked-bike-rideL.jpgQuestions?
more at
More at…

anna.davidson@ouce.ox.ac.uk

@acdavids

http://cyclesandthings.wordpress.com/