Automobilism—the culture of individual mobility based on private transportation—is promoted by leisure, consumption, the construction of infrastructure, and the provision of service by auto clubs. It promises to carry the driver away on a voyage of discovery with narratives of adventurousness and dreams of the good life on the road. It was from the outset an international movement with national repercussions and variations on a theme. Basically, however, the rise of European automobile culture accompanied the rise of consumption for leisure, which in turn evolved into a consumption regime of mediation and consumption junctions based on individual mobility and tourism.
Michael F. Wagner
Daniel Newman, Peter Wells, Paul Nieuwenhuis, Ceri Donovan and Huw Davies
This article considers electric cars as socio-technical experiments in meeting mobility requirements. There have been numerous trials and government incentives to promote such vehicles, but with a notable lack of success. The article thus seeks to address an urgent need to understand such “transition failure,” which may ultimately impact upon how progress is measured in sociotechnical transitions. Presenting results from a recent research project, it is suggested that shared usage models hold greater potential for achieving sustainable personal mobility. It is concluded, however, that multiple niche experiments present a highly complex situation in which cumulative learning is problematic.
Adding to discussion started by Gijs Mom and Peter Merriman in Yearbook 6, this text is a plea for scholars to claim a role in the politicization of mobility. Globalization is profoundly upsetting previous mobility practices and raising important questions about democratic, equitable access to mobility. This essay argues that a historic understanding of mobility can shed light onto how representations of different users and modes of transportation affect current political debates. Historical readings remind citizens to be wary of seductive, novel, and high-tech mobility solutions—concepts that have persisted, in a variety of forms, for centuries. Today's “smart mobility” and sustainable development, for all their promise, must be compared to historic trends and weighed against today's low-tech modes of travel that persist in the face of modernity.
Italian mobility history studies have seen remarkable developments since this journal published a first report on the topic in 2009.1 A review of main trends in Italian mobility studies since then reveals innovative developments opening new fields of investigation, with uneven but altogether appealing results, achieved not only by academic researchers but also by enthusiasts and journalists. Three themes are particularly discernible: mobility history and collective identity, denunciation of deficient transport system management, and a renewed attention
to business history.
Mobility is a key word for understanding gender and class formation. In a recent review of feminism, gender, and mobility, historian Georgine Clarsen reminds us that movement never occurs through neutral physical space; it involves gendered bodies through gendered spaces, by means of transport technologies that are often deeply gendered. Furthermore, gendered meanings, practices, and experiences change greatly over time and location. For all these reasons, mobility is—and has to be—contextualized. This article takes inspiration from Clarsen and investigates recent literature on the issue of gender and everyday mobility in urban Asia across a number of academic disciplines.
The article relates the study of mobility history to the fields of history of emotion and affect theory in the promotion of a cross-disciplinary research agenda. Taking as its point of departure a workshop in Copenhagen on feeling and space, the text draws lines and points of potential interface between historical mobility studies and the two related fields.
This article examines the Cuban mobile cinema campaign in the 1960s as a case study for thinking about the relationship between cinema and mobility. I examine the rhetoric around mobile cinema in Cuban journals such as Cine Cubano, and in the documentary film Por primera vez (For the first time, 1967). I argue that cinema is linked with mobility in two primary ways: as a virtual mobility stimulated by onscreen images, and as a more literal mobility expressed by the transportation of film into remote rural sites of exhibition. These two kinds of mobility reflect the hopes and ambitions of filmmakers and critics energized by the resurgent nationalism of the Cuban revolution, and the excitement of cinema as a “new” technology in rural Cuba.
The article reviews the main literature on tourism and transport history in Uruguay, showing the recent progress on studies of mobility in the shaping of the national territory as well as new themes and periods that need to be studied. The article points out that the trilogy of tourism, mobility, and territory is relevant to understanding the image of Uruguay as a tourist country. Along with the importance given to road infrastructure, modes of transport, travelers, destinations, communication, and so on, the article highlights mobility processes such as internal migration provoked by tourism as phenomena that require more attention.
Mobility requires waiting, especially in intermodal transportation systems. People must wait in airports, stations, and vehicles; at bus stops; in queues at registration desks and luggage checks; at boarding; and elsewhere. Waiting is part of the public transportation routine. As Ohmori and Harata report, an average commute time for train commuters in Tokyo is sixty-nine minutes.
In historical research on cycling in France, most attention has been given to the development of bicycles themselves and the industry that built them, mainly in the nineteenth century, or on cycling as a sport. Some historians have studied the bicycle as a social object. But the works dealing with cycling as a means of transport are scarce. The special double session on “Cycling History and Cycling Policies” at the 2012 annual conference of the International Association for the History of Transport, Traffic and Mobility in Madrid was an opportunity to exchange findings from various countries.