Accepted paper:

Precarious Entitlement and Utility Cycling in Dublin: A Grounded Theory Study


Robert Egan (Dublin City University, Ireland)
Mark Philbin (Dublin City University)

Paper short abstract:

Utility cyclists in Dublin experience precarious entitlement to space. Namely, they have an entitlement to space but it is rendered precarious due to various factors. To deal with this, cyclists either privatise their vulnerability or engage in different ways of provoking responsibility in others.

Paper long abstract:

In this grounded theory study, precarious entitlement was identified as a main concern for utility cyclists in Dublin through the gathering and analysis of qualitative interview data and other supplementary media. Precarious entitlement is conceptualised as the phenomenon when one has an entitlement to something that is rendered precarious due to various factors. It was interpreted that utility cyclists in Dublin experience this in relation to space. Three factors impinge on this experience: 'precarious space' upon which spatial entitlement is allocated, 'precarious recognition' of entitlement by others and 'precarious protection' for entitlement through law and by law enforcement. It was conceptualised that utility cyclists may deal with this phenomenon in primarily two distinct ways. First, utility cyclists dealt with precarious entitlement by taking personal responsibility for the vulnerability created by precarious entitlement in their conduct (i.e. by 'privatising vulnerability'). This involved enduring transgression from others of entitlement, anticipating disregard by others and refraining from using or insisting upon spatial entitlement. Second, utility cyclists dealt with precarious entitlement by engaging in various ways of provoking a sense of responsibility in others to recognise and respect their spatial entitlements and vulnerability. This involved indicating and punishing the transgressions of others of entitlement, asserting entitlement in the face of potential disregard by others, compelling awareness in others of one's presence in a particular space, and garnering favour in other road users as a means of provoking them to act more responsibly and respectfully.

panel P106
Auto-anthropocenes: alternative uses of roads and vehicles