The Cultural Diffusion of Asian Innovations in Transport Mobilities

in Volume 4 (2014): Issue 3 (Dec 2014): Asia Issue 2
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In this brief commentary on the articles in this special section, I would like to relate them to more contemporary mobilities issues as well as the wider mobilities theoretical literature. In so doing, I seek to highlight and interrogate a key theme, namely Asian innovation in mobilities and processes of cultural diffusion. As the editors of the special section suggest, historically the introduction of new transportation technologies and their ensuing mobilities practices became symbols of modernity for much of South and Southeast Asia under colonialism. They also emphasize that such innovations were highly contested and thus they suggest that the mobility of mobilities is seldom a smooth process, but, rather, laden with negotiations and struggles over power. Furthermore, the editors highlight that Asia should not be represented as an imitator of Western mobility and modernity but rather seek to place innovation agency in Asian hands. The articles prompt me to ask a further question about the role of non-human actors in these processes: Is it more a question of placing innovation in the vehicles of mobility themselves?


Interdisciplinary Journal of Mobility Studies

in Volume 4 (2014): Issue 3 (Dec 2014): Asia Issue 2

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