Year

2014

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Department

Department of Geography and Sustainable Communities

Abstract

This thesis provides rich insights into the lived experiences of mobility by investigating the embodied dimensions of transport choices. In a context of climate change and the need for adaptive transport behaviours this thesis goes beyond conventional and longstanding Cartesian dualist thinking that separates mind and body. Instead, this thesis proposes a more holistic approach to understanding why car driving remains the dominant form of daily transport. Inspired by the work of post-structuralist feminist scholars and the non-representational turn in geography and cultural studies, this thesis takes a visceral approach. This approach utilises feminist readings of philosophers Deleuze and Guattari (1987) to conceptualize everyday car driving practices as processual assemblages where bodies, materials, objects, ideas, affects and emotions come together in heterogeneous and dynamic relations that can develop along particular trajectories. The findings of the thesis illustrate that knowledge and awareness of the contribution of vehicle emissions to climate change were not enough to change car driving practices. Car driving practices were entwined with emergent subjectivities and social practices that helped to create, reinforce or disrupt understandings of different aspects of identity. This thesis makes a contribution to the current mobilities literature by building on and applying a range of innovative methods in the light of the recent theoretical developments highlighting the importance of affective and emotional registers. It addresses the gap between the dominant, quantitative, rationalist transport paradigm and the more abstracted, masculinist approach of mobilities literature by providing a grounded empirical account of everyday transport behaviours and a feminist interpretation of self, others and place. From a policy point of view, the thesis contributes to sustainable transport strategies by provoking thinking beyond current paradigmatic boundaries. Through a visceral approach the thesis highlights opportunities for encouraging a modal shift in transport policy.

Share

COinS