28 July 2015
Cargomobilities, edited by Thomas Birtchnell, Satya Savitzky and John Urry, looks at how objects and materials are on the move like never before, often at astonishing speeds and along hidden route ways. This collection opens to social scientific scrutiny the various systems which move objects about the world, examining their fateful implications for many people and places.

Offering texts from key thinkers, the book presents case studies from around the world which report on efforts to establish, maintain, disrupt or transform the cargo-mobility systems which have grown so dramatically in scale and significance in recent decades.

What do you hope readers take away from this edited book?

That the development of new means of moving objects and materials, such as containerisation and oil pipelines, have been as significant in political, economic and cultural terms as passenger mobilities. For instance, mirroring the flexible forms of movement and social life made possible by automobility are the flexible forms of movement and coordination made possible by container shipping and the 'just-in-time' system of production. Indeed containerisation is the other 'steel-and-petroleum' system that has utterly transformed societies and economies beginning in the latter half of the 20th century. It follows that the movement of things, and the often ignored and very sparsely peopled places through which things circulate, such as container ports, 'sea lanes' and in-land distribution centres, are as worthy of social science and mobilities research as airport lounges, urban street spaces and so on.

What was your favourite part of working on this project?

Receiving the 'finished product' of the book in material form, after so many months hard work!

Where can people find out more?

Morph studios have produced a short animation which nicely illustrates many of the book's key themes, available here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D0E1EtHx198

Also there is the book's webpage on the Routledge website and the editors' Twitter accounts, @extremobilities (Satya Savitzky), @johnurry (John Urry), and @tbirtchnell (Thomas Birtchnell, University of Wollongong).