Embodied Cultures of Mobilities

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The paper explores the relationship between the body and mobility by looking into a number of modes of transportation and their ways of constructing particular engagements with mobility. The ‘mobile embodiments’ are significant to a material and symbolic set of relations between human agents and material artifacts. The paper target the complex relationship between the moving, sensing body and the material and built environment of infrastructures and mobility modes in order to explore what norms, and meanings, and everyday life mobility cultures are being produced and re-produced in this process. A particular emphasis is put on how mobilities produce and re-produce norms, meanings and cultures in relation to the Everyday life perspective. By looking into walking, running, cycling, driving and mass transit mobilities different modes of embodied mobility is identified. The theoretical framework is based on a re-reading and re-interpretation of Gibson’s theories of visual perception and motion, Lynch’s theories of the mobile experiences of the city, and Goffman’s notions of ‘presentation of self’ and elaborations on ideas about interaction in motion. The new and innovative dimension to this paper is partly a new juxtaposition of three very different theorists that to the knowledge of this author never before has been combined. The theorists engaged with are all rather ‘old’ meaning that they are re-read in order to explore their underused potentials. However, this obviously also mean that more contemporary theorists understanding bodily movement, material sites of mobility, and social interactions must be consulted along the road (e.g. Latour’s work on objects and ANT, Thrift’s work on the body and ‘non-representational theory, and Massumi’s notions of affects and emotions related to bodily mobility). More importantly though, is the new insights that a theoretical framing connecting perception and bodily motion (Gibson) with an understanding of the face-to-face bodily interaction (Goffman) and an explicit awareness to the meaning of the physical design of the sites and places of the bodily mobility and interaction (Lynch). The argument is thus that understanding embodied cultures of mobilities from the vantage point of this paper lend is self to new interpretations, explorations and understandings of what it means to move within and between other social agents in particular material and physical environments.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication6th International Cosmobilities Conference, Aalborg October 27-29 2010
Number of pages26
Publication date2010
Publication statusPublished - 2010

Bibliographical note

Ikke udgivet


  • Mobilities
  • Embodiment
  • Culture


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