Mobility and Safety

Theory, Culture and Society 21 (4-5):81-100 (2004)

The article offers an insight into road traffic accidents by unravelling both the internal elements and the social context of the so-called car–driver hybrid. It takes a critical perspective on the art of designing road safety. More importantly, it seeks to contribute to social studies of transport and mobility through development of analytical concepts within the discipline. The points of departure are the inherent ambiguities of mobility. The author suggests that ‘being in traffic’ is always determined by coexisting forms of mobility and immobility. This ambivalent stage is then called motility. The author discusses car-drivers as motile hybrids, as they are mobile and immobile, as well as subjects and objects at the same time. In order to apply these concepts, the question of what happens to hybrids in crashes is addressed, employing Bruno Latour’s concept of ‘immutable mobiles’. The article concludes with a discussion of the social role of road safety experts, arguing that transport safety experts create a specific kind of spatio-temporal order within which the motile hybrid exists. It is the safety professional who decides when to take agency away from the subject and give it to the object, and it s/he who determines where to slow down and where to speed up the car–driver hybrid
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DOI 10.1177/0263276404046062
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References found in this work BETA

The ‘System’ of Automobility.J. Urry - 2004 - Theory, Culture and Society 21 (4-5):25-39.
Living Dangerously with Bruno Latour in a Hybrid World.Mark Elam - 1999 - Theory, Culture and Society 16 (4):1-24.

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Citations of this work BETA

The ‘System’ of Automobility.J. Urry - 2004 - Theory, Culture and Society 21 (4-5):25-39.
Anticipating Harm.H. Knox & P. Harvey - 2011 - Theory, Culture and Society 28 (6):142-163.
Automobilities.M. Featherstone - 2004 - Theory, Culture and Society 21 (4-5):1-24.

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