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Driving North/Driving South reprised: Britain’s changing roadscapes, 2000–2020

Research output: Contribution to Journal/MagazineJournal articlepeer-review

<mark>Journal publication date</mark>31/01/2024
Issue number1
Number of pages18
Pages (from-to)52-69
Publication StatusPublished
Early online date4/01/23
<mark>Original language</mark>English


This article explores how Britain’s changing roadscapes are apprehended by the road-user with reference to my own experience of driving the same route between Scotland and Cornwall over the past quarter-century. My pre-millennial analysis of these journeys (published 2000) is compared with more recent driving-events and deploys the same multi-layered autoethnographic methods I first experimented with then. My central argument is concerned with the ways in which drivers and passengers both respond and contribute to such change vis-a-vis those aspects of their own autobiographies which are entwined with the ‘lifecourse of the road’ (Mikhail Bakhtin). The concept I have devised to account for the ways in which the materiality of the road is entangled with the cognitive and affective passage of the traveller is journeying: i.e. the means by which the individual journey is overlaid, and shaped, not only by previous journeys but also the life-journey of the traveller for whom a familiar route has special meaning. The analysis reveals the extent to which increased traffic and congestion has impacted upon the experience of driving long-distance routes as well as the critical role roadside landmarks (and their disappearance) play in orienting and disorienting the traveller.