This issue of Transfers features five individual essays critically engaging with the promises promoted alongside new methods and purposes of mobility. Two essays, Martin Emanuel’s “From Victim to Villain: Cycling, Traffic Policy, and Spatial Conflicts in Stockholm, circa 1980” and Andrew V. Clark and colleagues’ “The Rise and Fall of the Segway: Lessons for the Social Adoption of Future Transportation,” circle around a core theme of Transfers with their fresh look at transportation, its vehicles, and its methods; two others, Noah Goodall’s “More Than Trolleys: Plausible, Ethically Ambiguous Scenarios Likely to Be Encountered by Automated Vehicles” and Gal Hertz’s “From Epistemology of Suspicion to Racial Profiling: Hans Gross, Mobility and Crime around 1900,” look at mobility’s social side. Fascinatingly consistent are the adjectives and adverbs that qualify the promises that are made for these technologies. Segways, for instance, were sustainable, enviro-friendly, shared. Smart, personalized, and robotic are some of the commonly invoked terms in the growing literature on this particular PMD (personal mobility device). Adverbial are the benefits of automated driving too: safe and liberating, both values desired by a nineteenth-century urbanized Austrian society that imagined the city as a space of settled inhabitants free of migrants and hence also free of crimes.
Hans Gross, Mobility, and Crime around 1900
Hans Gross (1847–1915), the founder of Austro-Hungarian criminology, developed an epistemology of suspicion that targeted and profiled individuals as well as social and ethnic groups based mainly on their uprootedness and displacement. The scientific practices of observation and analysis he implemented in criminal investigations were anchored in epistemological assumptions that redefined and questioned both the object of study (namely, the criminal) and the subject (the investigator). By transferring scientific ideas and methods from the natural and social science into police work and judicial processes, Gross’s study of crime merged biological and social perspectives. This meant the categories of deviancy were attached to foreignness and social difference, migration and effects of urban life. His epistemology was underlined by social Darwinism, and his forensics, far from being an objective study, advocated what is today known as racial profiling.
Women's Education and Everyday Mobility in Rural Pakistan
Muhammad A. Z. Mughal
This article discusses the relationship between women’s education and their everyday mobility in the rural areas of Punjab, Pakistan. Based on an ethnographic case study from a village in Southern Punjab, information from semi-structured interviews and observations is used to demonstrate an enhanced access to education has altered women’s everyday mobility trends. However, questions regarding women’s empowerment remain unresolved. Although some rural women have always been engaged in agricultural activities, there have been limitations on their mobility due to cultural sensitivities. I conclude the nature of social and socio-spatial relationships is being negotiated in some cultural contexts of rural Punjab through the changing facets of women’s mobility associated with modern education.
Cycling, Traffic Policy, and Spatial Conflicts in Stockholm, circa 1980
This article employs a social practice approach to analyze the boom and bust of cycling in Stockholm around 1980, in the context of broader socioeconomic trends and under the influence of new cyclists, bicycle innovation, and local traffic policy. Within a predominantly car-based city traffic regime, which rendered some mobility practice more legitimate than others, measures intended for cyclists were taken at the expense of pedestrians rather than motorists. Because of a blend of more cyclists, faster bicycles, and design choices based on the car as norm, the image of the cyclist transformed from that of the victim (of automobility) to the villain, and, for this reason, cycling was less easily supported by local politicians. Combined with the second wave of automobility in the 1980s, bicycle policy and planning lost its steam, and cycling declined.
Plausible, Ethically Ambiguous Scenarios Likely to Be Encountered by Automated Vehicles
As the act of driving becomes increasingly automated, vehicles will encounter situations where different objectives of safety, mobility, and legality will come into conflict. These situations require a vehicle to compare relative values of different entities and objectives, where the action of the vehicle has a moral component. While discussion of these scenarios often focuses on the “trolley problem” thought experiment, these types of life-or-death moral dilemmas may be rare in practice. This article identifies four far more common examples of routine driving that require decisions with some level of ethical reasoning about how to distribute risk. These scenarios may be useful for automated vehicle developers in assessing vehicle safety and responding to potential future regulations, as well as for regulators in developing performance requirements.
Future Voyages for Moving Deep and Wide within the ''New Mobilities Paradigm''
Kimberley Peters and Rachael Squire
The seas and oceans, ships and boats, alongside other maritime activities and practices, have become a focus of work within the “new mobilities paradigm.” However, water worlds much like the space they occupy in the relation to the land remain situated in the margins of such work, despite an oceanic (re)turn in disciplines such as human geography, sociology, anthropology, and politics. Drawing from this recognition, this article seeks to make two contributions. First, following earlier, agenda-setting work, it makes a renewed call for mobilities scholarship to centralize work on oceans, ships, and other forms seagoing travel and life. Second, in doing so, it suggests such work needs to voyage more deeply and widely in the future, exploring mobilities beyond surficial connections and flows across our oceans, and making more expansive the subjects and objects and scales of investigation, under the remit of the “new mobilities paradigm.”
Lessons for the Social Adoption of Future Transportation
Andrew V. Clark, Carol Atkinson-Palombo, and Norman W. Garrick
Once posited as a revolutionary transportation technology, the Segway never took off as some expected because the social acceptance of the technology was not considered in a systematic manner. Using a framework for social acceptance of technology borrowed from the literature on renewable energy, we examine how social, economic, and environmental costs of the Segway, along with regulatory issues presented barriers to implementation. High prices, legislative and spatial issues, and a lack of appeal to consumers presented challenges to acceptance. This case study provides a timely reminder of the multifaceted and complex nature of social acceptance that will need to be applied to future innovations, such as autonomous vehicles, to better understand factors that need to be considered for them to be embraced by society.
Andrew Barnfield and et al.
Being Lighter Than Air Derek P. McCormack, Atmospheric Things: On the Allure of Elemental Envelopment (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2018), 304 pp., 34 illustrations, $27.95 (paperback)
Challenging Landscapes of Confinement Michael J. Flynn and Matthew B. Flynn, Challenging Immigration Detention: Academics, Activists and Policy-makers (Cheltenham: Edward Elgar, 2017), 352 pp. £81 (hardback).
“Bottleneck” in Dakar: From Metaphor to Anthropological Analytical Tool Caroline Melly, Bottleneck: Moving, Building, and Belonging in An African City (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2017), 224 pp., 11 halftones, $30 (paperback).
Migratory Trajectories, Affective Attachments, and Sexual-Economic Exchanges Christian Groes and Nadine T. Fernandez, eds., Intimate Mobilities: Sexual Economies, Marriage and Migration in a Disparate World (New York: Berghahn Books, 2018), 248 pp., $120 (hardback).
Engineering Nineteenth-Century Transport Innovations Maxwell Lay, The Harnessing of Power: How 19th Century Transport Innovators Transformed the Way the World Operates (Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars, 2018), 374 pp., £64.99 (hardback).
The Politics of Mobility in Postcolonial Kenya Kenda Mutongi, Matatu: A History of Popular Transportation in Nairobi (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2017), 352 pp., 31 halftones, $30 (paperback).
A Sense of What Commuting Takes David Bissell, Transit Life: How Commuting is Transforming Our Cities (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2018), 272 pp., 6 illustrations, $32 (paperback).
Vanishing Point? The City after the Car Venkat Sumantran, Charles Fine and David Gonsalvez, Faster, Smarter, Greener: The Future of the Car and Urban Mobility (Massachusetts: The MIT Press), 326 pp, $29.95
Troubling the “View from Above” Caren Kaplan, Aerial Aftermaths: Wartime from Above (Durham: Duke University Press, 2018), 298pp., 24 color plates. Hardcover: $77, Paper $25.
Mobility, Mobilization, and Cooptation Claudio Sopranzetti, Owners of the Map: Motorcycle Taxi Drivers, Mobility and Politics in Bangkok (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2017), xiv +328 pp., $85.00 (hardback), $29.95 (paperback).
No Exit: The Persistent Legacies of Mobility Choices in Houston Kyle Shelton, Power Moves: Transportation, Politics, and Development in Houston (Austin: University of Texas Press, 2017), 302 pp., 24 black-and-white illustrations, $29.95 (paperback)
Reflections on Rootedness and Mobility
Francesca Bray, Barbara Hahn, John Bosco Lourdusamy, and Tiago Saraiva
Crops are a very special type of human artifact, living organisms literally rooted in their environments. Crops suggest ways to embed rootedness in mobility studies, fleshing out the linkages between flows and matrices and thus developing effective frameworks for reconnecting local and global history. Our focus here is on the movements, or failures to move, of “cropscapes”: the ever-mutating ecologies, or matrices, comprising assemblages of nonhumans and humans, within which a particular crop in a particular place and time flourishes or fails. As with the landscape, the cropscape as concept and analytical tool implies a deliberate choice of frame. In playing with how to frame our selected cropscapes spatially and chronologically, we develop productive alternatives to latent Eurocentric and modernist assumptions about periodization, geographical hierarchies, and scale that still prevail within history of technology, global and comparative history, and indeed within broader public understanding of mobility and history.
As announced in our most recent editorial, this issue of Transfers features a series of reflections on the role of movement and mobilities in the fields of history of science, technology, and medicine. Four major collaborative projects in different stages of completion are introduced: “Moving Crops and the Scales of History”; “Individual Itineraries and the Circulation of Scientific and Technical Knowledge in China (16th–20th Centuries)”; “Migrating Knowledge”; and “Itineraries of Materials, Recipes, Techniques, and Knowledge in the Early Modern World.” Over the past few years, historical research on scientific and technological change and movement has altered substantially in form and content. Many projects have taken on a collaborative format as globalization and global exchange methodologies advanced and brought about an increased awareness of geographies, cultural differences, and postcolonial debate but also as sources became increasingly visible and available through digital means and researchers themselves became more mobile. The four examples selected can inevitably provide only a glimpse into this changing landscape and were chosen as offering a representative geographic coverage of European and US American scholarship in which, however, colleagues from a wide range of areas including India, South America, and Asia were involved.