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Commutes and Co-Workers: Complicating Individual Journeys through Workplace Relations

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The everyday mobilities involved in performing paid work have increasingly been conceptualized in relation to their social context, with transport researchers seeking to move away from a view of the commuter as a solitary figure driven by a utility-maximization rationale. To date, most research which emphasizes the social embeddedness of commutes has focused on the ways in which gender, class and race shape commuting experiences, and the role of household relations in the organization of the commute. In this paper, I contribute to this body of work by exploring the links between the commute and the social relations of the workplace. The paper draws on qualitative data collected among commuters in Sofia, Bulgaria, and includes both office workers and people employed in shift work in the tourism and hospitality sector. The findings discuss the multiple ways in which formal and informal workplace interactions become part of everyday journeys, whether through commuters arranging to travel together, through strategies for avoiding co-workers on the way to work, or through managerial measures aiming to shape commutes. Commuting experiences, in turn, are not external to the workplace but are woven through it in a range of ways, as co-workers discuss commuter stress, or set time aside to plan easier, safer or more affordable travel to work.


Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: December 1, 2019

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  • Built Environment is published quarterly in March, June, September and December. With an emphasis on crossing disciplinary boundaries and providing global perspective, each issue focuses on a single subject of contemporary interest to practitioners, academics and students working in a wide range of disciplines. Issues are guest-edited by established international experts who not only commission contributions, but also oversee the peer-reviewing process in collaboration with the Editors.

    Subject areas include: architecture; conservation; economic development; environmental planning; health; housing; regeneration; social issues; spatial planning; sustainability; urban design; and transport. All issues include reviews of recent publications.

    The journal is abstracted in Geo Abstracts, Sage Urban Studies Abstracts, and Journal of Planning Literature, and is indexed in the Avery Index to Architectural Publications.

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