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Driving the 'Starship Enterprise' through London: constructing the (im)moral driver-citizen through HGV safety technology

Spinney, Justin, Kullman, K. and Golbuff, L. 2015. Driving the 'Starship Enterprise' through London: constructing the (im)moral driver-citizen through HGV safety technology. Geoforum 64 , pp. 333-341. 10.1016/j.geoforum.2015.04.014

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The intersections between technology, mobility and citizenship have been relatively neglected in current geographical enquiry. Through qualitative analysis of user, operator and media accounts of retro-fitted safety technology on HGVs (Heavy Goods Vehicles), this paper illustrates the ways in which citizenship as a moral accomplishment is dependent upon the socio-technical worlds into which individual actors are folded. In response to the growing incidence of cyclist fatalities under the wheels of HGVs, various safety technologies have been positioned as reliable ‘intermediaries’ by policymakers, manufacturers and operators seeking to mitigate the risks of the HGV. However, we demonstrate that these technologies are more accurately seen as ‘mediators’, because of the ways in which they distort and translate information, producing and reshaping new tasks and roles for HGV drivers. One of the consequences of this is a shift in responsibility towards the drivers, which increases the potential to construct them as negligent if accidents still occur. Accordingly, we indicate how technologies ‘push back’ on mobile subjects, shaping not only their ability for moral conduct, but broader social identities as citizens.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Geography and Planning (GEOPL)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Socio-technical; Mobility; Morality; Citizenship; Risk
Publisher: Elsevier
Date of Acceptance: 28 April 2015
Last Modified: 07 Nov 2019 09:03

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