Policy on transport infrastructure in Germany will come under increasing pressure thanks to considerable changes in basic conditions. Demographic change, shifts in economic and regional structures, continued social individualization, and the chronic budget crisis in the public sphere are forcing a readjustment of government action. At root, the impact of the changes in demographics and economic structures touches on what Germans themselves think their postwar democracy stands for. Highly consensual underlying assumptions about Germany as a model are being shaken. The doctrine that development of infrastructure is tantamount to growth and prosperity no longer holds. The experience in eastern Germany shows that more and better infrastructure does not automatically lead to more growth. Moreover, uniform government regulation is hitting limits. If the differences between boom regions and depopulated zones remain as large as they are, then it makes no sense to have the same regulatory maze apply to both cases. In transportation policy, that shift would mean recasting the legal foundations of public transport.
Taxis and E-Hailing in China
Jack Linzhou Xing
E-hailing is a recent innovation in urban transport infrastructure. E-hailing companies operate online platforms and use algorithms to match passengers with cars, without owning cars or formally employing drivers. Didi, with seventy-seven million
Alla Bolotova, Anastasia Karaseva, and Valeria Vasilyeva
receiving medical care in Kirovsk has increased significantly, resulting in long queues. Such radical reorganizations of the health-care system are possible because of the existence of the well-developed transport infrastructure in the region. Local
Infrastructural Suspension and Phatic Politics in Romania
The political force of infrastructures is often attributed to their functioning as designed, while their political afterlives remain underexplored. In this article, I explore ethnographically the phatic force of ruins of infrastructure, by dwelling on a liminal railroad segment in Romania that remains unrehabilitated many years after its breakdown. Such an open-ended state of suspension allows the isolation of infrastructure's political and affective dimensions. The Giurgiu- Bucharest railroad met its demise in 2005 in the wake of heavy floods, producing an infrastructural gap that impacts local mobility and unravels the postsocialist social contract. State authorities and citizens engage in tactics of remediation that, while unsuccessful in resuming traffic, maintain a sense of phatic connection that kindles nostalgia for the past and frustrates anticipation of the future. These tactics make the railroad a medium for hope and at the same time a symbol for the absolute impossibility of hope.
Corporate Social Responsibility and the Russian State in a Small Siberian Oil Town
Gertrude Saxinger, Natalia Krasnoshtanova, and Gertraud Illmeier
good transport infrastructure on the part of the state and the companies, including the maintenance of roads or public transport provision. Throughout this article, we explore the relationship between CSR and the wellbeing of individuals and communities
Carlos López Galviz
Imagining the future of cities is often an exercise that is based upon the imagining of future transport infrastructure. The article explores this connection historically by drawing parallels between London, Paris and Shanghai since c.1851. It focuses on the role that symbols and mythmaking have in the process of envisioning both future transport and future cities. It raises questions about the continuities between contexts that are distant across space and over time and the extent to which such continuities might provide some insights into the many connections between cities, transport and mobilities.
Mobilities, life in roads and abiotic actors of the (m)ôtô‐cene
Traffic in mega‐urban Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC) demonstrates the transformative powers of vehicles and transport infrastructures. Like eddies of a river, traffic flows are abiotic actors – other‐than‐human physical phenomena that influence how traffic makes its way. But the liquid sense of flow in Vietnamese imaginings has unique qualities that challenge singular conceptualisations of the Anthropocene. Moving beyond human‐centredness, this paper re‐imagines traffic of metropolitan HCMC as the ()‐cene. Drawing on ethnographic fieldwork, I examine transformations of diurnal patterns of banal journey‐making where infrastructure routinely fails and ask how abiotic actors shape ways of inhabiting the Anthropocene and living with roads.
Crises in urban electric transport infrastructure of Eastern and Southeastern Europe present not only a fruitful subject for historical, ethnographic, and sociological inquiry, but also contribute to two intersecting knowledge fields. First, to the multidisciplinary constellation of studies dedicated to failures of sociotechnical systems that I will refer to as disaster and crisis studies. And second, to social studies of urban transit in the former Socialist Bloc, a subfield within broader mobility and transport studies. In this text I will review the state of both these fields and then proceed to conceptualize the intersections between them, proposing historical anthropology as an integration tool. In the process I will occasionally refer to my fieldwork in Donbas, Ukraine, from 2011 to 2013, and eastern Romania since 2015.
Patrick Laviolette and Tatiana Argounova‐Low
Is the planet on a one‐way collision course with self‐destruction? Are cars, roads and everything that goes along with them the main culprits for the end of the world as we know it? In addressing the nebulous, amorphous and material ties between vehicles and infrastructure, this Special Section of provides some cross‐cultural histories for better understanding commonplace as well as alternative paths, tracks and travel experiences. It also offers ethnographic narratives for the social lives, cultures and lived environments of everyday micro‐journeys or the hyper‐mobilities of human imaginaries. This collection of essays reaches a vantage point for a broad perspective on our long‐term relationship with transport infrastructures – helping to assess their impact on both the built environment and the Earth’s ecosystems.
Transport and Infrastructure in the East African Campaign of World War I
This article describes the little-known history of military labor and transport during the East African campaign of World War I. Based on sources from German, Belgian, and British archives and publications, it considers the issue of military transport and supply in the thick of war. Traditional histories of World War I tend to be those of battles, but what follows is a history of roads and footpaths. More than a million Africans served as porters for the troops. Many paid with their lives. The organization of military labor was a huge task for the colonial and military bureaucracies for which they were hardly prepared. However, the need to organize military transport eventually initiated a process of modernization of the colonial state in the Belgian Congo and British East Africa. This process was not without backlash or failure. The Germans lost their well-developed military transport infrastructure during the Allied offensive of 1916. The British and Belgians went to war with the question of transport unresolved. They were unable to recruit enough Africans for military labor, a situation made worse by failures in the supplies by porters of food and medical care. One of the main factors that contributed to the success of German forces was the Allies' failure in the “war of legs.”