Driving against the nation state
(University of Melbourne)
Paper short abstract:
A comparative ethnography of perambulatory forms of car-driving, this paper develops a critique of IR theorizing that assumes rationale actors who move in order to get from A to B, and that is based upon a kind of aerial-centrism.
Paper long abstract:
Roads are often conceptualised as banal and, thereby, especially effective means by which the national project is inscribed in subjectivities. However, they have other, and potentially disruptive qualities too. They lie betwixt and between national centres. They intersect national territories. Despite repair and renewal, they are often the remains and accretions of other anteceding political projects. And, in this respect roads may be loci of non-hegemonic national phenomenologies and choreographies of driving. Drawing on case studies from Bosnia, Northern Ireland and the West Bank, this paper explores these qualities of roads. In particular, focussing on perambulatory forms of driving them, I explore roads as sites for the formulation of alternative conceptualisations of the national space and critique of the nation-state. More broadly, and through this I develop a critique of IR theorizing that assumes rationale actors who move in order to get from A to B, and that is based upon a kind of aerial-centrism. Viewed from behind the steering wheels of wandering drivers the paper aims to show how conceptualisation of national territory can be very different.
Auto-anthropocenes: alternative uses of roads and vehicles