The Art and Craft of Train Travel.

Watts, Laura (2008) The Art and Craft of Train Travel. Social and Cultural Geography, 9 (6). pp. 711-726. ISSN 1464-9365

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Current theories concerning the social and material construction of time and space have little to say concerning the specific things and people involved. For example, how do times and spaces get made on a train—with passengers, train seats, tables, and views through the window? Through a travelogue of one train journey across England, this paper explores the art and craft of train travel, and the making of a particular time and space. The paper draws together science studies approaches to socio-material relations, and geographical concerns with socio-spatiality, to discuss passengers as spatially distributed persons and property. Reflecting on ethnographic evidence in the form of quotations and photographs woven through the text, it demonstrates how these heterogeneous passengers craft their travel times as an effect of their travel time use; how socio-material interactions with pens, papers, puzzles and electricity pylons make time. Following Michel Serres, it also suggests how passenger time is not a simple flow but a percolation, and how these passenger times coalesce in train carriages to form communities. The paper is itself a journey, in the form of words and images, which begins and ends with the imaginary, social, and material work of making a destination.

Item Type:
Journal Article
Journal or Publication Title:
Social and Cultural Geography
Uncontrolled Keywords:
?? science studiesethnographymobilitiestransporttravelmobile ethnographycultural studiesgeography, planning and developmenthm sociology ??
ID Code:
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Deposited On:
25 Nov 2008 14:43
Last Modified:
15 Jul 2024 09:50