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The Art and Craft of Train Travel.

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

Published
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>2008
<mark>Journal</mark>Social and Cultural Geography
Issue number6
Volume9
Number of pages16
Pages (from-to)711-726
Publication StatusPublished
<mark>Original language</mark>English

Abstract

Current theories concerning the social and material construction of time and space have little to say concerning the specific things and people involved. For example, how do times and spaces get made on a train—with passengers, train seats, tables, and views through the window? Through a travelogue of one train journey across England, this paper explores the art and craft of train travel, and the making of a particular time and space. The paper draws together science studies approaches to socio-material relations, and geographical concerns with socio-spatiality, to discuss passengers as spatially distributed persons and property. Reflecting on ethnographic evidence in the form of quotations and photographs woven through the text, it demonstrates how these heterogeneous passengers craft their travel times as an effect of their travel time use; how socio-material interactions with pens, papers, puzzles and electricity pylons make time. Following Michel Serres, it also suggests how passenger time is not a simple flow but a percolation, and how these passenger times coalesce in train carriages to form communities. The paper is itself a journey, in the form of words and images, which begins and ends with the imaginary, social, and material work of making a destination.