Assembling Moral Mobilities


Assembling Moral Mobilities

Cycling, Cities, and the Common Good

Nicholas A. Scott

288 pages
38 photographs, index


February 2020


$50.00 Add to Cart
eBook (PDF)
Ebook purchases delivered via Leaf e-Reader

February 2020


$50.00 Add to Cart
eBook (EPUB)
Ebook purchases delivered via Leaf e-Reader

February 2020


$50.00 Add to Cart

About the Book

In the years since the new mobilities paradigm burst onto the social scientific scene, scholars from various disciplines have analyzed the social, cultural, and political underpinnings of transport, contesting its long-dominant understandings as defined by engineering and economics. Still, the vast majority of mobility studies, and even key works that mention the “good life” and its dependence on the car, fail to consider mobilities in connection with moral theories of the common good.

In Assembling Moral Mobilities Nicholas A. Scott presents novel ways of understanding how cycling and driving animate urban space, place, and society and investigates how cycling can learn from the ways in which driving has become invested with moral value. By jointly analyzing how driving and cycling reassembled the “good city” between 1901 and 2017, with a focus on various cities in Canada, in Detroit, and in Oulu, Finland, Scott confronts the popular notion that cycling and driving are merely antagonistic systems and challenges social-scientific research that elides morality and the common good. Instead of pitting bikes against cars, Assembling Moral Mobilities looks at five moral values based on canonical political philosophies of the common good, and argues that both cycling and driving figure into larger, more important “moral assemblages of mobility,” finally concluding that the deeper meta-lesson that proponents of cycling ought to take from driving is to focus on ecological responsibility, equality, and home at the expense of neoliberal capitalism. Scott offers a fresh perspective of mobilities and the city through a multifaceted investigation of cycling informed by historical lessons of automobility.


Author Bio

Nicholas A. Scott is an assistant professor of sociology at Simon Fraser University.


“Weaving together insights from transport and mobilities research, urban planning, and ethnographic encounters gleaned on ride-alongs with cyclists in Canada and around the globe, Nick Scott takes us along on an enlightening journey in search of a good bike lane into the future.”—Phillip Vannini, author of Off the Grid: Re-Assembling Domestic Life

“This book tackles the very important and timely topic of how, why, where, and for whom more sustainable bicycling practices and infrastructure are taking off, or are being blocked, in various U.S. and Canadian cities. . . . Nick Scott asks far ranging questions about good cities, the good life, and the common good. Drawing on creative ethnographic vignettes, these lively stories highlight the pressing need for more focus on equity, social justice, and expansion of biking infrastructures to diverse populations. Scott also contributes important theoretical concepts of moral assemblage, moral friction, and moral mobilities to the growing body of work on mobility justice.”—Mimi Sheller, author of Mobility Justice: The Politics of Movement in an Age of Extremes

Table of Contents

List of Photographs
Introduction: In Search of the Good Bike Lane
1. Domestic Mobilities: Local Tradition, Urban Place, and Good Roads
2. Industrial Mobilities: Road Engineering, Urban Planning, and Infrastructuring Efficiency
3. Civic Mobilities: Dedicated Bike Lanes, Cycling Social Movements, and Cycling Justice
4. Market Mobilities: Neoliberal Urbanism, Bike Share, and the Commodification of Cycling
5. Ecological Mobilities: Enacting Nature through Cycling
Conclusion: Good Cycling Futures

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