Stories from the Periphery: Ordinary Objects and Marginalized Meanings
Gabrielle Lavenir (Concordia University)
Paper short abstract:
This study results from the peripheries of the field of trucking, and epistemologies that surround it. We have focused on stories of people and ordinary objects that remain outside the scope of studies in trucking. The project problematizes spatiality and mobility with a focus on materiality.
Paper long abstract:
We made a quick ethnography project in 2017 that focused on women truck drivers in Canada. With 'object-oriented storytelling', we have revealed the truck cabin, showing how it is a dynamic space that is defined both as home and work through socio-material practices (Smith, 1981). The project encompasses three peripheral positions. Firstly, the study focuses on women truckers who comprise 3% of the trucker workforce in Canada; and thus incorporates the meanings that are often overlooked in trucking, traditionally a male-dominant industry. Second, the study centers on the objects that are placed in the truck cabin, as opposed to the objects that are being transported as commodities. Therefore, the reality that we draw rests on the stories of ordinary objects that travel across boundaries; and not the mobility of commodities in a supply-chain that are often the focus of political-economic analyses. Lastly, we have conducted a 'quick ethnography', which falls outside the traditional ethnographic practices that values long-term immersion into field site. Our involvement with the field was rapid but deliberate and interventionist (Pink et al. 2013). These peripheral components of the research enabled us to rethink the conversations that commonly surround the trucking industry; provided space for the emergence of different stories of mobility and spatiality. These marginal positions enabled us to move through scales with a narrative ease; and opened up the research data to be used in different ways. So far, the research outputs have taken the form of a short film, and an interactive narrative game.
Peripheral wisdom [#Colleex network]