Mauss-tramper = 2nd parking (car-poreality vs. cartesian ethnography). keywords: time; waiting; boredom; adventurous bodies; acceleration and slowness; alternative trans-port
(LIAS Leicester UCL)
Paper short abstract:
In Milan, at the EASA conference two years ago, I presented some ethnological work-in-progress material based on hitchhiking. The paper was clouded in theory. So before putting the cart before the 'tramper' yet again, this version sketches out some fieldwork data collected since that summer.
Paper long abstract:
Hitchhiking has expanded to include virtual and meta-conceptual encounters (Purkis 2012; Kendall 2016; 'Suomen Antropologi'Forum-2017). I refer here, however, to actual events of 'randomly' thumbing lifts (with little reference to verbally asking, except once a vehicle driver has accepted to 'roll down the window', in order for a conversation to begin). My ongoing research on auto-stopping intends to grapple with such categories as: artistry/creativity, (in)alien/nation, deception/truth, non-places/nowheres, Self/Other, subject/object, strangeness/estrangement, altruism/utopia, hunting/hermeneutics. When dealing with stress, risk and certain levels of exhaustion - hitchhiking (like many extreme leisure pursuits) allow for a 'reading' of body languages (ours/Other's). This is important for data collection since the researcher's attention focuses on interpreting non-verbal forms of communication. Moreover, this encounter format requires chit-chat, if any extensive spoken exchange takes place at all. As a hap-hazardous, anxiously serendipitous and threshold crossing form of displacement, HH is a more-than-human assemblage of infrastructures, vehicular cultures and kindness. It persists in a neoliberal age by cloaking itself as a stochastic form of mobility that connects to alternative systems of care. It can be chaotic, frustrating, dangerous and causelessly rebellious, especially in a hyper-modern age that frowns at those who cannot afford to drive, or who wish to remain too individualistic. Yet it is equally creative and supra-human in adapting/incorporating 21st century technologies to find new forms of expression. Hitching is thus not dead. It survives as a hybrid type of collaborative expression for deep'n'dark play.
Playful bodies, bodies at play