Current Institutional Affiliation
Post-Doctoral Research Fellow, All Souls College, University of Oxford

Award Information

International Dissertation Research Fellowship 2009
Institutional Affiliation (at time of award):
Anthropology, Harvard University
Constituting Mobilities: Ice-Cubes, Newspapers, and Motor-Taxis in Bangkok CBD

This project studies some of the over 500,000 motor-taxi drivers that operate illegally in Bangkok's Central Business District (CBD), as well as two ubiquitous yet transient commodities that they transport -crushed ice and newspapers in order to investigates the role of "mobility" in constituting and re-configuring urban spaces, social networks, and legality in Bangkok. Focusing on these three fleeting vectors of mobility my research asks: How does the circulation and exchange of these two goods affect bonds of intimacy and social engagement? What techniques do motor-taxi drivers employ to navigate the spatial, social, and legal landscapes of Bangkok? What relationships do they develop with coexistent entities, such as institutional transportation providers, street-vendors, and retail businesses? How are conflicting conceptions of the city, formal and informal economies, and public and private spaces adopted, sustained, or challenged by these different forms of mobility? In answering these questions, my research strives to recover links between people, commodities, and spaces that anthropology has too often neglected. Exploring the mobility of motor-taxis, ice-cubes, and newspapers across the city, my project reclaims the constitution of the social as the object of analysis and focuses on the work that people and objects do in sustaining and constituting spatial, social, and legal connections.