Tuesday, 2 December 2008

CFP RGS (5) Geographies of the passenger

Research that has contributed to the new mobilities paradigm has helped to illuminate some of the various intersecting virtual, corporeal and incarcereal mobilities that constitute contemporary spaces of flows (Cresswell; Urry). However significantly less has been said about the particular experience of passengers who are caught up within these flows, networks and systems (although see Adey; Laurier; Bissell). Even less has been expressed about how the passenger and their experiences have been conceived, imagined, manipulated, regulated and engineered. And whilst some detail has been given to the various modalities of mobility the passenger may take, far less engagement has looked at how the experiences and imaginations of the passenger cut across multiple of modes of mobility in different historical, economic, political and geographical contexts (Shaw). In a world increasingly on the move, these issues seem particularly pertinent.

First, this session seeks to attend to the sociality of the passenger experience by considering the types of relationship that cohere, condense or evaporate between passengers and the various socialities and forms of belonging that emerge and disappear. It will consider the moral and ethical topographies and the rights and responsibilities that come with being a passenger.

Second, papers may consider the various processes and practices that allow individuals or groups to become passengers (and to exit these roles). Considering the multiple tensions between activity and passivity the session will probe the qualitative differences between ‘passengering’ and its apposite counter-forms (be it piloting, driving, steering, directing etc.). It will look at the rites of passage, routines, strategies and tactics associated with becoming a passenger and how they impact on the body.

Third, this session examines how some of the various objects, prostheses and affordances both help and hinder passengers’ experiences of travel (Lury). It will look at the complex tensions and juxtapositions that emerge between experiences of comfort and discomfort (Virilio). In so doing it seeks to get to grips with the affective and emotional topographies that are immanent to becoming a passenger. This might involve various experiences of uplift or anxiety (McCormack; Sheller), or the affective dimension of travelling spaces that are engineered to make passengers feel and respond in particular ways.

Fourth, papers may explore the cultural-politico-economy of the passenger and its imbrications into various political, economic and technological orderings (Dodge and Kitchin). It will consider the extent to which the passenger has been controlled through various institutions and governance regimes, or the role of passenger testimony and historical renderings.

Fifth, the session will address how passengers and their practices have been transformed through time and space. It will explore how shifting social, political, cultural and economic contexts have brought about substantial alterations in the passengers’ style, conduct, meaning, significance and embodied (tele)mediated experience.

This session aims to explore the figure of the passenger as both an empirical actuality and an existential problematic by inviting contributors from across a range of disciplines to consider the significance of the passenger in its myriad forms.

Titles and abstracts (200 words) should be emailed to David Bissell (d.j.bissell@brighton.ac.uk) and Peter Adey (p.adey@esci.keele.ac.uk) by Friday 23 January 2009. We would welcome initial expressions of interest and ideas.

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