Night-time mobilities and (in)justice in London: Constructing mobile subjects and the politics of difference in policy-making

Smeds, E., Robin, E. and McArthur, J. 2020. Night-time mobilities and (in)justice in London: Constructing mobile subjects and the politics of difference in policy-making. Journal of Transport Geography. 82 102569. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jtrangeo.2019.102569

TitleNight-time mobilities and (in)justice in London: Constructing mobile subjects and the politics of difference in policy-making
TypeJournal article
AuthorsSmeds, E., Robin, E. and McArthur, J.
Abstract

The growing interest in urban night-time economies and night-time transport policies presents an important context in which to examine how mobility justice is conceived and operationalised in policy-making. Literature on transport exclusion and transport justice documents the disadvantages experienced by different social groups and advances theoretical frameworks for distributive justice and transport accessibility. However, this literature has rarely considered the politics of whether and how mobility difference is recognised and planned for in transport policy, including issues of deliberative justice (participation) and epistemic justice (knowledge production). To address these research gaps, this paper engages with Sheller's (2018) theorisation of mobility justice and critically analyses the construction of mobile subjects in policy discourse on night-time mobility. We analyse policy documents part of night-time policy for Greater London to examine the extent to which the differentiated night-time mobilities across social categories (gender, age, ethnicity, income, etc.) are recognised – in other words, how the ‘politics of difference’ play out in transport policy-making. Findings show that the discursive construction of mobile subjects in London's night-time policy distinguishes between workers, consumers, and transport users, yet, these broad categories poorly account for differentiated mobility needs and practices. Publicly available data on differentiated night-time mobilities in London does not inform current policy discourse, obscuring disadvantages experienced by different groups of people moving through the city at night, and thus limits the capacity of existing policy interventions to address mobility injustices. These findings reaffirm the need for transport research to move beyond distributive justice and accessibility analysis, towards exploring the potential of thinking about distributive and epistemic justice for challenging the status quo of transport policy.

Article number102569
JournalJournal of Transport Geography
Journal citation82
ISSN0966-6923
Year2020
PublisherElsevier
Publisher's version
License
CC BY 4.0
File Access Level
Open (open metadata and files)
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jtrangeo.2019.102569
Publication dates
Published in printJan 2020
Published online27 Nov 2019

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