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27-31 August 2019
Poznań, Poland
Europe/Warsaw timezone
programme last update: 23 August 2019
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Hitchhiking: affect, spaces and stories


Location: Poznań, Poland
Date: 30 Aug 11:00 - 15:30


Room 3.136

A billion operating cars worldwide, with people on the road around 1.1 hours a day, have spawned an emergent, complex system of roads and motorways no longer designed for people. The private, self-driving, autonomous – or driverless car – promises to create a system of freedom and liberation. Instead, for many commentators, it is creating car-dependent cultures with banal infrastructural spaces of car parks, filling stations and repair garages to service motorways that structure and produce unsustainable automobilities, reflecting a deeper social malaise of loneliness, melancholy and even anger. In this context, hitchhikers are an increasingly rare species. The geographical range of hitchhiking is extending east as its western frontier dwindles, its vaunted imminent extinction driven by discourses of danger, individualism and marginality. Paradoxically, however, such an era is witnessing an autostop/hitchhiking revival through race competitions, art events, hitch gatherings and even pop-culture publications. Producing its own geographies, practices and emotions, hitchhiking contests and possibly subverts the apparent consensus of neoliberalised transportation. This panel, based on our respective varied interests in certain facets of hitchhiking (such as gender, tourism mobility, counter-culture and thrill seeking) will explore some of the spaces, narratives, eccentricities and affective responses of this practice to challenge current thinking about the organisation of movement, friction and (auto)mobile materialities. We seek papers that address such hitchhiking related themes in order to put together the first comprehensive scholarly overview on this practice to occur within the social sciences.


  • P 73.1
    • Dr. LAVIOLETTE, Patrick (UCL / Tallinn Univ.)
    • Dr. HOLLER, Jacqueline (UNBC)
    • Dr. O'REGAN, Michael (Bournemouth Univ.)
  • P 73.2
    • Dr. LAVIOLETTE, Patrick (UCL / Tallinn Univ.)
    • Dr. HOLLER, Jacqueline (UNBC)
    • Dr. O'REGAN, Michael (Bournemouth Univ.)

Timetable | Contribution List

Displaying 11 contributions out of 11
As a social statement that applauds randomness and adventure, an activity which is effectively an instantiation of pure trusting, hitchhiking inverts the logic of succumbing to the cultures of fear, individualism and neoliberalism. It stands as a retro survivor to the counter-culture movements of the 1960s and 70s. As such a residue, it should carry on questioning the status quo, maintaining its c ... More
Presented by Dr. Patrick LAVIOLETTE on 30/8/2019 at 12:20
In contemporary western societies population movements have increased and become more frequent for various geopolitical, economic and social reasons. In between migrants and turists we can find people who choose traveling as a nomadic way of life. These travelers are uprooted from a fixed territory to move in a semi or unstructured way for an indefinite time, financing themselves while traveling a ... More
Presented by Laura MERCEDES OYHANTCABAL on 30/8/2019 at 11:00
“Trust is the most joyous kind of bond with another living being. But isn't is true that whenever we enjoy being with someone, there is [both] a factor of risk there, and also a factor of trust, which gives our enjoyment an edge of rapture?” (Lingis 2004: x). Trust is akin to a permeable border, solid but skin-thin, that makes possible connections between Other and self, self and world. A ... More
Presented by Dr. Marijn NIEUWENHUIS on 30/8/2019 at 14:45
As a nation, India prides in its dictum of “guest as a form of God”. Most religious ceremonies in India require the host to keep the door open to welcome of the divine guest. The footprints of myriad deities are painted on the veranda as a metaphor. The automobile may also be regarded as a home on road. The hitchhiker therefore is a guest that entreats hospitality. The paper is an attempt to s ... More
Presented by Dr. Umesh PATRA on 30/8/2019 at 11:20
Contemporary hitchhiking in China has caught little research interests regardless of its recent (re)emergence as a touristic practice. This research focuses on gender in hitchhiking travel in contemporary China. Literature suggests that gender is an important aspect of hitchhiking, particularly in regard to ease and risk: It is easier but more dangerous for the female than the male to hitchhike. I ... More
Presented by Dr. Xiongbin GAO on 30/8/2019 at 14:25
Hitchhiking is generally associated to long journeys crossing countries and continents. Therefore, its occurrence in the urban context of Florianópolis has some particularities in the way one thumbs a ride. Being an exception among most studied hitchhike cases, this urban context frames the hitchhike practice in the rhythms of the daily routine, in a city with five hundred thousands inhabitants, ... More
Presented by Yuri Rosa NEVES on 30/8/2019 at 12:00
Presented by Dr. Patrick LAVIOLETTE, Dr. Jacqueline HOLLER, Dr. Michael O'REGAN
"My paper will examine the role of women within hitchhiking - 'free' ridesharing that is based on need and trust. Using a feminist geography, I will focus on the hitchhiking female body within places and spaces: the construction of the female body as a site of risk in public exterior space (the highway), and inside an enclosed interior space (the vehicle). I shall also consider hitchhiking wome ... More
Presented by Vivienne PLUMB on 30/8/2019 at 14:05
Hitchhiking/ridesharing (considered synonyms in this abstract) are social practices that go back much further than contemporary patterns of motorised mass mobility. They are private activities largely taking place in the secluded environment of the car. Any yet, they are of evident societal relevance, considering the need for more efficient and sustainable mobility. Increasing the occupancy of pri ... More
Presented by Dr. Martin SCHIEFELBUSCH on 30/8/2019 at 11:40
his paper discusses the results of one of the first comprehensive regional studies of hitchhiking to be carried out in North America. Using autoethnography, interviews with more than 30 hitchhikers from all over British Columbia, and close to 200 completed online questionnaires, the paper asks: what kinds of hitchhiking spaces are comprised within British Columbia, and how do differently located h ... More
Presented by Dr. Jacqueline HOLLER on 30/8/2019 at 15:05
The private car promised to create a system of freedom and liberation with Simmel speaking about ‘the miracle of the road.’ Instead, it created car-dependent cultures with banal infrastructural spaces that structure and produce unsustainable automobilities. These materialities, or infrastructural spaces, however, have also come to influence different mobilities, based on differing socio-cultur ... More
Presented by Dr. Michael O'REGAN on 30/8/2019 at 13:45
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