Gendering Mobilities and (In)equalities in Post-socialist China
The aim of this chapter is to scrutinize mobility and gender in post-socialist China. More specifically the focus is on mundane discourses of cars and bikes and how they have come to be intertwined with new ideas of class and gender. The chapter starts with a critical elaboration of dominant methodologies in transport research in the West, which also opens new perspectives in transport analysis in China. While much transport research has been preoccupied with ideas of transport as an engine of economic growth and human behaviour as rational choice, this chapter addresses transport and mobility from cultural analytical perspectives and demonstrates how cultural assumptions about gender, class and mobility privilege and constrain certain groups. By using key notions such as global assemblages and gendered interpellations, it is demonstrated how new discourses of mobility in multiple ways are intertwined with the emerging Chinese middle class and new ideas of masculinity and femininity. Based on materials in Chinese newspapers and fieldwork in Beijing and Shanghai, it is demonstrated that new forms of transport and mobilities have produced hierarchical dynamics of gender and class which might impede both more just and more sustainable modes of transportation and planning.
KeywordsFemininity Masculinity Class Public transport Car culture Post-socialist China
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