From paths to roads: the transformative capacities of roads on movement and relationships 
Jonathan Alderman (Ludwig Maximilian University Munich)
Marlit Rosolowsky (University of St Andrews)
Lisa Grund (University of Manchester)
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Thursday 16 August, 9:00-10:45, 11:15-13:00 (UTC+0)

Short Abstract:

The construction of roads transforms movement, social relations and residency. This panel examines ethnographically and theoretically how socio-economic relationships facilitated by footpaths can be reconfigured by highways, and how relationships on the move are experienced differently.

Long Abstract

This panel considers the transformative effects of roads through the different movement they facilitate. While roads can be built with multiple intentions stimulated by various imaginaries, ultimately, they also have the capacity to re-shape the movement of people, allowing them to travel further and faster. The ease of movement facilitated by roads allows for social relationships to be experienced differently. Migration is facilitated, but so is dual residence, because of the convenience of travelling between locations that roads create. The construction of roads can also drastically impact on economic relationships. Where journeys on foot to trade between neighbouring communities or ones further afield may have been commonplace, when a road is constructed, these relationships are often tested because of the ability of people to by-pass their neighbours in taking their goods directly to market.

Thus, this panel also intends to explore what kind of ethnographic and theoretical insights can be gained when bringing perspectives on highways and local footpaths together. While highways may elicit novel and interesting relations, social configurations, and patterns of movement, footpaths might be constituted of other networks of relationships and patterns of movement. In this light, the panel invites papers to explore the following questions: How do new roads create different patterns of movement and relationships? How do people perceive and experience the intersecting spatio-temporal networks constituted of highways and footpaths? How does a new highway transform people's ideas of 'place'?

Accepted papers: