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

Smeds, E; Robin, E; 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 , Article 102569. 10.1016/j.jtrangeo.2019.102569. Green open access

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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.

Type: Article
Title: Night-time mobilities and (in)justice in London: constructing mobile subjects and the politics of difference in policy-making
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1016/j.jtrangeo.2019.102569
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jtrangeo.2019.102569
Language: English
Additional information: This is an open access article under the CC BY license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Keywords: Night-time economy, Difference, Justice, Discourse, Mobility, Transport
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science > Dept of Civil, Environ and Geomatic Eng
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science > STEaPP
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10083675
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