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Fixing mobility in the neoliberal city: Cycling policy and practice in London as a mode of political–economic and biopolitical governance

Spinney, Justin 2016. Fixing mobility in the neoliberal city: Cycling policy and practice in London as a mode of political–economic and biopolitical governance. Annals of the Association of American Geographers 106 (2) , pp. 450-458.

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Academic interest in utility cycling has burgeoned in recent years with significant literature relating to the health and environmental benefits of cycling, the efficacy of cycle-specific infrastructure, and the embodied experiences of cycling. Yet with few exceptions, none of these accounts conceptualizes cycling as a mode of neoliberal governance through which circulation and quality of labor are improved. This article seeks to address this absence, positioning cycling in relation to broader biopolitical and political–economic governance in two ways: Focusing on the recent experiences of London (UK) it argues first that cycle promotion is a principally biopolitical “mobility” fix that seeks to operate through shaping individuals as entrepreneurs of the self who will move more efficiently. Second, and in relation to this biopolitics of cycling, it suggests that the minimal spatial fixing embodied in cycle-specific infrastructure represents a metaphorical fix resulting from tensions created between the enterprise of cycling, the realities of practicing it in hostile urban environments, and the temporary networks of actors that produce it as such. In doing so, the article contends that what is being materialized is a narrow productivist framing of cycling both materially and discursively in the shape of commuter-focused infrastructure and promotion that effectively marginalizes subaltern and alternative performances. The article concludes by arguing that theorizing the promotion and practice of cycling as part of broader processes of neoliberalization should help to direct future research agendas for cycling and critical mobilities scholarship more broadly.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Geography and Planning (GEOPL)
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GV Recreation Leisure
H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
ISSN: 0004-5608
Related URLs:
Date of Acceptance: 1 August 2015
Last Modified: 20 Jan 2021 14:34

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