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From Victim to Villain

Cycling, Traffic Policy, and Spatial Conflicts in Stockholm, circa 1980

Martin Emanuel

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.

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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.

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Portrait

Ann Grodzins Gold

Ann Grodzins Gold, Bhrigupati Singh, Farhana Ibrahim, Edward Simpson, and Kirin Narayan

found quite uninviting. But she was also younger than the so-called younger generation, whose perception of reality seemed entirely overwritten by the desire to find redemptive subalterns and irredeemable villains, encountered mainly through ‘discourse

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Sabina Barone, Veronika Bernard, Teresa S Büchsel, Leslie Fesenmyer, Bruce Whitehouse, Petra Molnar, Bonny Astor, and Olga R. Gulina

the day-to-day struggle of working, commuting, and living in poverty. However, it also constructs migrants as victims or villains, providing very few counter-examples to these stereotypes. Despite his stated distrust of statistics, Judah peppers his