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The Morality of Motoring

The Emergence of the Automobile in Belgium, 1895-1940

Donald Weber

The emergence of the automobile in Belgium from 1895 onwards brutally disrupted the traditional social order on the roads, transforming social practices and the order of society from the mundane-the everyday use of transport-to the more rarified-urban planning and the use of public space. In this article, we will deal with the earliest history of motorization in Belgium. We will analyze motorization as a process of interaction between a specific set of social actors, and focus on its outcome: modern traffic policy as a conflict-management strategy. It is argued that traffic policy evolved from an originally moral strategy into a technical strategy, as engineers and the public road administration introduced Foucauldian approaches in order to discipline the traffic system.

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Road against Rail

The Debate on Transport Policy in Belgium, 1920-1940

Donald Weber

When new motorized means of transport, such as buses, vans, and lorries, captured part of the transport market in Belgium in the interwar period, the rail companies engaged in a political fight to restrict the new modes of road transport. Attempts were made to introduce fiscal and administrative measures aimed at limiting road transport. This coincided with an intense debate on transport policy, both in the press and in parliament. The article focuses on the discourse driving this debate. It is argued that the positions taken were motivated by economic issues, but that there were underlying cultural motivations, different perceptions of what transport should represent in the lives of the users and the whole of society. The focus on the so-called coordination debate is widened beyond the conflict between trains and vans in the 1930s, to include the conflict between automobiles, buses, and trams in the 1920s.

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Claudia Lieb, Donald Weber, Anita Perkins, Monika Domman, Manuel Appert, Liz Millward, Ueli Haefeli, Heloise Finch-Boyer, Natalie Roseau, Charissa Terranova, Massimo Moraglio, Christopher Neumaeier and Clay McShane

Christian Kassung, Die Unordnung der Dinge. Eine Wissens- und Mediengeschichte des Unfalls Claudia Lieb

Matthieu Flonneau and Arnaud Passalacqua, Utilités de l'utilitaire. Aperçu Réaliste des Services Automobiles Donald Weber

Fred Dervin, Analysing the Consequences of Academic Mobility and Migration Anita Perkins

Regine Buschauer, Mobile Räume. Medien- und Diskursgeschichtliche Studien zur Tele-Kommunikation Monika Domman

Sébastien Gardon, Goût de bouchons. Lyon, les villes françaises et l'équation automobile Manuel Appert

Peter Adey, Aerial Life: Spaces, Mobilities, Effects Liz Millward

Rainer Ruppmann, Schrittmacher des Autobahnzeitalters: Frankfurt und das Rhein-Main-Gebiet Ueli Haefeli

Frances Steel, Oceania under Steam: Sea Transport and the Cultures of Colonialism, c. 1870-1914, Studies in Imperialism Heloise Finch-Boyer

Kelly Shannon and Marcel Smets, The Landscape of Contemporary Infrastructure Natalie Roseau

Andrew Bush, Drive Charissa Terranova

Paul M. Weyrich and William S. Lind, Moving Minds. Conservatives and Public Transportation Massimo Moraglio

Ann Johnson, Hitting the Brakes. Engineering Design and the Production of Knowledge Christopher Neumaeier

Barron H. Lerner, One for the Road: Drunk Driving Since 1900 Clay McShane