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Brown Bag Seminar with Katharina Manderscheid

Date: 26 January 2012 Time: 1-2.00 pm

Venue: Bowland North B135

Automobile Subjects

Modernity and its accompanying processes of differentiation and extension created the need to bridge increasing spatial distances through means of transportation and communication. In my presentation, I want to argue for an understanding of automobility as dispositif in the Foucauldian sense. This dispositif became constitutive for the socio-spatial formation and order in the western world in the second half of the 20th century. The conceptual framing emphasises the multiple interweavings of discursive knowledge, material structures, social practices and subjectifications as crucial for a sociological understanding of the car.

Using mainly data from Germany, I will sketch the emergence of the automobile subject, who's long lasting undisputed hegemony has started to fade. Especially the new figure of the creative nomad equipped with various mobile technologies and connected to the internet presents a differently mobile subject. Against the background of the concept of automobility as dispositif, I will explore and compare these two figures in regards to their social preconditions and exclusions, thereby highlighting the inherent power structurations.

Katharina is at the University of Lucerne where her current research concentrates on the conceptualisation and interplay of spatial mobilities, social power and inequality, materialities and the built environment and knowledge and discourse, drawing on the discourse and dispositif terms introduced by Michel Foucault. Other strands of her work include comparative analysis of mobility patterns in England and Switzerland, reflections on Pierre Bourdieu's relationality and geographical space as well as on social structuration of urban neighbourhoods.

Event website:


Who can attend: Anyone


Further information

Organising departments and research centres: Centre for Gender and Women's Studies, Centre for Mobilities Research (CeMoRe), Geography, Lancaster Environment Centre, Sociology

Keywords: Automobilities, Foucault, Mobilities, Modernity, Sociology, Transportation


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