Mobility Infrastructure

Mobility Infrastructure

Movements of people, things, information, and energy are inter-related. Mobilities are distributed too, for instance residents’ immobility during the COVID pandemic 2020-21 relied on the heightened mobility of essential workers, while the reduction of human movement in general resulted in the increasing mobility of animals. Furthermore, businesses, governments and other actors are creating new connections among movements, through technological innovation, logistical development, environmental interventions and multispecies imagination. Migration infrastructure conditions mobilities through the interlinkages, bringing knowledge and practice into new relations.

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Although e-hailing, also known as ridesharing, promises higher incomes, many taxi drivers in the Chinese city of Xi’an are not switching their jobs. The spatiotemporal arrangement of conventional taxi work enables drivers to build and maintain work-based communities, whereas the top-down algorithmic arrangement of e-hailing impedes community building. The piece argues that these community networks are so treasured by many taxi drivers in Xi’an – most of whom are former state-owned enterprise workers or rural migrants –, that they continue to drive traditional cabs despite the lower income.
Jack Linzhou Xing
Published online 17 June 2022

China has transformed itself from a kingdom of bicycles to a country of cars. From the 1970s to the mid-1990s, bicycle-centric mobility was embedded in “work unit urbanism” with home, work, school and other facilities nearby one another. Since the late 1990s, however, urban infrastructure has focused on accommodating automobiles while the city, and the distances residents travel, has grown. In the process, bicycle travel has gone from a daily necessity to a marker of status in an increasingly stratified society.
Jun Zhang
Published online 4 May 2022

Biodiversity conservation is an increased part of migration governance regimes around the world. This entry uses the framework of ‘resource frontiers’ to examine American-funded conservation programmes for refugees in Guatemala. It considers the entanglement of humans and more-than-humans as resources in the production of political barriers.
Julia C. Morris
Published online 8 April 2022

“Logistical power” is a government’s exertion of dominance over private actors by coordinating the circulation of people, goods, and information. Its immediate sources include states’ logistical provision and logistical intervention. Logistical power extends both the “infrastructural power” (Michael Mann 1984) and political-juridical power of modern states.
Biao Xiang
Published online 10 February 2022

This entry proposes the notion of the ‘short circuit’ to grasp the transnational circulation of stolen contemporary objects of wealth. With a focus on electronics theft in South Africa, short circuits are viewed as violent levelling mechanisms between regions of plenty and scarcity, which bypass social, economic, and logistical conventions to instantly satisfy desires for material wealth.
Brandaan Huigen
Published online 9 November 2021
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