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The Transfers/T2M Duo and the Evolution of the Reflection on Mobilities

The Textbook Case of the Historical Representations of the Paris Beltway

Mathieu Flonneau

Abstract

Transfers and T2M have carved out a space for free thought. Using the itinerary of the Boulevard Périphérique (beltway) of Paris as an example, I demonstrate how debates and controversies have been integral to the advancement of the way we conceptualize and problematize mobilities. Frictions with political and ideological projects only reinforce our commitment. Nowadays, we have to face a permanent wishful thinking and I express my concern regarding the instrumentalization and the uses of knowledge to promote a “sense of History” disconnected from Parisian tradition, which itself has been neglected as an inglorious relic of the past. The bright path to a smart/world city will probably take longer than expected by its own self-promoters.

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Trending Transfers

A Decade of New Mobility Studies through the Lens of Transmodality, Transnationalism, and Transdisciplinarity

Gijs Mom

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Looking back on nine years of Transfers, this essay first analyzes the journal's 141 main articles statistically, investigating whether and how much they represented the editorial team's ambition to develop New Mobility Studies guided by transmodality, transnationalism, and transdisciplinarity, in the process decentering the vehicle, the nation, and even history. Together with its hundreds of Editorials, opinionated Ideas in Motion essays and book, film, and art reviews, the journal was able to carve out a clear trend toward a well-established and solid niche within the general mobility studies field. Embedded in a narrative about the personal scholarly development of its first editor in the midst of the CIVID-19 pandemic, the essay shows how Transfers managed to offer its readers a hybrid mix of a scholarly vista on and over the edge of the field and an artistic, curatorial, and filmic and, in general, aesthetic struggle with mobility.

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Kelsey Hanrahan, Sarah Kunz, Milla Mineva, Kara Moskowitz, Till Mostowlansky, Cosmin Popan, and Vera Radeva Hadjiev

Seeing Women Migrants in Africa Kalpana Hiralal and Zaheera Jinnah, eds., Gender and Mobility in Africa: Borders, Bodies and Boundaries (London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2018), xi + 259 pp., 10 illus., $119

Indigenous Mobilities: Thinking Mobility from the South and beyond the Nation-State Rachel Standfield, ed., Indigenous Mobilities: Across and Beyond the Antipodes (Canberra: ANU Press), 279 pp., $50

Mobile Dwellings, Standing Still: An Ethnography of Possible Mobility Hege Høyer Leivestad, Caravans: Lives on Wheels in Contemporary Europe (London: Bloomsbury Academic), 192 pp., 20 illus., $102.60

Rethinking Exile in and Out of Africa Nathan Riley Carpenter and Benjamin N. Lawrance, eds., Africans in Exile: Mobility, Law, and Identity (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2018), 337 pp., $35

How to Study Roads Anthropologically Dimitris Dalakoglou, The Road: An Ethnography of (Im)mobility, Space, and Cross-Border Infrastructures in the Balkans (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2017), 203 pp., 34 illus., £19.99

Invisible Cycle Histories for Brighter Mobility Futures Tiina Männistö-Funk and Timo Myllyntaus, eds., Invisible Bicycle: Parallel Histories and Different Timelines (Leiden: Brill, 2018), xii + 282 pp., $133

Someone Needs to Care: Caregiving Practices beyond the Family and the State Azra Hromadzic and Monika Palmberger, eds., Care across Distance: Ethnographic Explorations of Aging and Migration (New York: Berghahn Books, 2018), 183 pp., 15 illus., $110

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Stéphanie Ponsavady

Almost ten years ago, Gijs Mom invited readers and scholars to hop on the bus to rethink our mobilities with the tools of humanities. This issue marks a change of crew as we transition between two editors. We thank Dagmar Schäfer for her leadership in deepening and challenging our thinking, especially in the areas of mobilities in Asia throughout time. We owe a debt of gratitude to Gina Grzimek, our outgoing editorial assistant, for her work shepherding submissions through their publication and mentoring her successor, Jessica Khan. We now present you an issue born out of our collective work, with the hope that it will take you on a journey both comforting and stimulating. This invitation comes as the COVID-19 pandemic has impeded or suspended our collective mobilities for the foreseeable future. In this context, we want to reaffirm Transfers’s interdisciplinary commitment to explore the ways in which various experiences of mobility have been enabled, shaped, and mediated.

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Aharon Kellerman

Everyday carry (EDC) is a collection of items carried routinely by people, in pockets, on wrists, or in bags. This initial article on EDC attempts to portray and interpret mobility-related EDC, which mediates between moving persons and their devices or activities. Our discussion begins with a general introduction of EDC, presented as utilities and preparedness accessories, followed by historical and functional expositions of four routinely carried mobility items: home keys, car keys, watches, and smartphones. These four items have been developed at different times and places, thus responding to varying human needs. Then, mobility-related EDC items are interpreted from two perspectives: everyday life, noting their unique use by owners, and mobility, noting the instant access to mobility that they facilitate, thus turning potential mobilities into practiced ones.

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Exploring Humanistic Layers of Urban Travel

Representation, Imagination, and Speculation

Jooyoung Kim, Taehee Kim, Jinhyoung Lee, and Inseop Shin

This think piece approaches urban travel from a mobility humanities perspective, using the example of Seoul, South Korea, a leading metropolis in Asia. The article demonstrates three modes of interpreting urban travel in Seoul: (1) representation by means of mobile video technologies embodying a paradoxical relationship of powers; (2) literary imagination confining a possible mobile community in a restricted region; and (3) philosophical speculation presenting “crossing the Han River” as a spiritual and emotional reproduction of the connection between, and consequential rupture of, heterogeneous territories. The article pays particular attention to the represented, imagined, and speculated dimensions of urban travel, which is understood as a physically practiced and cognitively elaborated production, rather than a predefined movement per se.

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Joshua Hotaka Roth

Many Japanese workers in lower-paying positions were drawn to the growing trucking sector in the 1950s and 1960s, characterized by contingency and the thrill of risk and reward, in contrast to the stasis of lifetime employment guarantees emerging in other sectors of the economy. The gamified reward structure in trucking, however, led to a spike in traffic accidents and a backlash against “kamikaze trucks.” Only after regulations and enforcement limited the most dangerous kinds of incentives did meaningful forms of play emerge at work from the bottom up, rather than the stultified forms imposed by businesses from the top down.

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Mobilizing Malian-Diasporic Identities

How Southern News Websites Facilitate Non-sedentarist Discourses on African Migration

Syntia Hasenöhrl

Whereas identities in postmodern societies are increasingly celebrated as mobile and fluid for agents from the Global North, agents from African societies face sedentarizing discourses. Recent research has shown that digital media play an ambivalent role in this process. This article explores the circulation of migration-related news on a Malian-diasporic online news portal during the month of December 2016. It argues that Southern online news and user interactions with them can mobilize African identity constructions in opposition to sedentarist hegemonic discourses in three ways: (1) the traveling of articles across space reconstructs the complexities of Malian mobilities; (2) user profiling and interactions produce non-sedentarist narratives about mobile Malians; and (3) the circulation of specific expressions and content questions fixed connections of identities and territories.

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Novel Review

Learning Again to Walk under Rainy Skies

David McLaughlin

Melissa Harrison, Rain: Four Walks in English Weather (London: Faber & Faber and National Trust, 2016), £12.99