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Sharing public space across difference: attunement and the contested burdens of choreographing encounter

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This paper concerns how claims to public space are negotiated between differently embodied subjects, and how forms of bodily articulation shape capacities for sharing space. Drawing on a study of outdoor access practices, entailing mobile video ethnographies with walkers and cyclists, it explores the corporeal mechanisms through which the entitlements of differently mobile subjects are asserted, resisted, circumscribed or accepted in the time-spaces of bodily encounter. How the signalling of ‘responsible’ and ‘irresponsible’ conduct influences how bodies are allowed to move in relation to other bodies is the focus. Mobilisations of speed, affective and sensory attunement, and techniques of bodily articulation, were found to be a key in the disciplining of cycling and walking bodies. This paper highlights the central role of attunement to, and concession of, hybrid subjectivity in the choreography of encounters, and, moreover, how related burdens of orchestrating coexistence are shared and struggled over amongst different publics. It demonstrates that whilst greater attunement can enable differently mobile subjects to develop a reciprocal choreography, expectations of such attunement can also undermine the ability to share space if not met. This paper thus raises the dilemma of when to accept or extend the limits of attunement in facilitating coexistence in public space.

Keywords: armonización; attunement; ciclismo de montaña; el cuerpo; espace public; espacio público; le corps; mobility; mobilité; mountain biking; movilidad; outdoor recreation; public space; recreo de afuera; récréation en plein air; sensibilisation; the body; vélo tout terrain

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/14649365.2012.728614

Affiliations: Department of Social, Economic & Geographical Sciences,The James Hutton Institute, CraigiebucklerAberdeen,AB15 8QH, UK

Publication date: November 1, 2012

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