I came upon this recent paper about “Constructing a view of citizenship” that is changed by active engagement in cycling as a social activity and as a means of transport, in my usual review of all things cycling this lunchtime.

 

The paper uses in-depth interview data from Cambridge, England, to discuss the concept of the ‘cycling citizen’, exploring how, within heavily-motorised countries, the practice of cycling might affect perceptions of the self in relation to natural and social environments. Participants portrayed cycling as a practice traversing independence and interdependence, its mix of benefits for the individual and the collective making it an appropriate response to contemporary social problems. In this paper I describe how this can be interpreted as based on a specific notion of cycling citizenship rooted in the embodied practice of cycling in Cambridge (a relatively high cycling enclave within the low-cycling UK). This notion of cycling citizenship does not dictate political persuasion, but carries a distinctive perspective on the proper relation of the individual to their environment, privileging views ‘from outside’ the motor-car.

There’s an interseting section that muses on the decline of street life and citizen engagement and its relationship with the increasing motorisation of public spaces – perception of road danger – risk of injury etc.that caught my attention. See the link below for a free download….It’s cogent, relatively concise, well written and has multitudinous cross references to there related papers.

http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/14649360903414593#.U8kPC1a8v7Q

Quite thought provoking, but it also highlights the lack of much research into the impact of motorised transportation in changing  peoples perceptions of public life and space , private life and space,  and general citizenship.

Gets the grey cells going ….

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‘On the outside’: Constructing cycling citizenship by Rachel Aldred

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