Publication Details

Birtchnell, T. & Urry, J. (2015). The mobilities and post-mobilities of cargo. Consumption Markets and Culture, 18 (1), 25-38.


Cargo is moved from factories through global production networks via supply chains to consumers, but this process is hidden from them by what Raymond Williams termed the magic system of marketing and what Allan Sekula and Noël Burch call the forgotten space of containerization. This paper addresses recent concern that the mobilities paradigm has neglected two domains relevant to cargo: global production networks and global cultures of consumption. These domains are examined in relation to three key elements in this paper: distribution, consumption and marketing. In assessing moving consumption from the perspective of the mobilities paradigm, this paper recommends that the future of cargo, the ease of which consumers take utterly for granted, is far from clear-cut from a strategic foresight perspective.



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