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Intersections: Essays on traffic

Hewson, Grant (1997) Intersections: Essays on traffic. PhD thesis, Murdoch University.

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Abstract

Traffic today is everywhere and nowhere. It is everywhere in our cities and towns; and everywhere in the intellectual landscape, too. But is nowhere in the sense that it has no clear centre. There is no one body of thinking on traffic: no ‘trafficology’.

The point of this thesis is not to invent such a discipline but rather to collect together, in a series of thematically linked essays, the main forms of thought that exist today in order to give us multiple senses of traffic. The disciplines in question are, on the one hand, urban planning, mass communications and urban sociology, and on the other, philosophy and literature.

The first three of these are taken as 'social scientific' treatments of traffic as a site around which notions of 'authentic' and 'inauthentic' social being distinguish themselves. The conclusions reached about these disciplines is that none of them is able to clearly ground traffic in its externality.

Then in part two of this thesis, philosophical and literary uptakes of traffic are examined. Here the thesis shows that these expressive forms of writing are geared to confront this near impossibility—the grounding of traffic in its externality—to confront this directly, in its detail, and also in its grounds.

In the conclusion, the thesis moves on to compare these two tensions: social science's unsatisfiable quest for an 'outside' to traffic (as the mark of social in/authenticity) and the 'arts" determination to provide both grounds for, and details of, this impossibility. In short, they provide the double senses of traffic-in-general and traffic-in-its-specificity.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Murdoch Affiliation: Division of Social Sciences, Humanities and Education
Notes: Note to the author: If you would like to make your thesis openly available on Murdoch University Library's Research Repository, please contact: repository@murdoch.edu.au. Thank you.
Supervisor(s): UNSPECIFIED
URI: http://researchrepository.murdoch.edu.au/id/eprint/51497
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