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Trafficking

Scanlan, John (2004) Trafficking. Space and Culture, 7 (4). pp. 386-395. ISSN 1552-8308

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Abstract

In cities the world over, we are able to determine stability in daily existence, to identify with our social spaces, because modes of transport have become essential components of subjective autonomy. But would it not be just as accurate to say that in transit, modern life puts the self in abeyance? The author argues that the ways we allow ourselves to be moved around in "traffic space" create a passivity that renders almost invisible the complex mechanics of movement, which we become alert to only at the moment of breakdown, precisely when they become a threat to autonomy. Our trafficking has an almost narcotic effect, rendering us immobile against the continual movements that constitute urban life, one that also magnifies out of all proportion the accidents or aberrations that sometimes disturb our traffic space, making it seem as if we may easily descend into an uncontrollable chaos.

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