by Fiona Ferbrache
This week I write from Germany and a media event to mark the 40th anniversary of the InterRail pass: a rail ticket allowing passengers to travel (up to one month) on roughly 250,000km of rail track across 30 European countries.
Launched in 1972, the InterRail pass enabled young people (aged 21 and under) to explore Europe. Forty years later and the pass is available for all ages. During this time the European map (its territories and borders) has changed: the fall of the Berlin Wall, dismemberment of the Soviet Union and of Yugoslavia, and the expansion of the European Union and Schengen zone, which have created a borderless space for mobility. As I am learning here in Leipzig, InterRail enables a unique cross-border perspective on the changing nature of Europe – a trainspace, perhaps.
Trainspace is an analytic concept proposed by Cidell (2012:3) to evoke “the space(s) constructed or maintained by the (im)mobility of trains, in both discursive and material forms”. The concept is introduced through Cidell’s exploration of freight transportation in Chicago’s suburbs. The case study explores the proposed purchase of a beltline railroad around Chicago by Canadian National Railroad, and the opposition raised by local American communities. While concerns over safety and risk were significant, Cidell shows how these were expressed in terms of disruption caused by a foreign railroad. This conflict, Cidell argues, revealed underlying fears of national control being eroded by a new transnational space (in terms of railroad ownership and the global flows of goods it could engender in Chicago’s suburbs).
Cidell’s trainspace encourages us to think about the effects of transport infrastructure beyond the site of the infrastructure itself. Applying this to InterRail, I am led to think in terms of the connected (rail)routes through which people flow and come to know a Europe: a significant component of transnational processes in a changing world.
Cidell, J. (2012) Fear of a foreign railroad: transnationalism, trainspace, (im)mobility in the Chicago suburbs. Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers. DOI: 10.1111/j.1475-5661.2011.00491.x
InterRail Celebrates its 40th Anniversary
These Early View articles are now available on Wiley Online Library.
Anthropogenic controls on large wood input, removal and mobility: examples from rivers in the Czech Republic
Lukáš Krejčí and Zdeněk Máčka
Article first published online: 23 DEC 2011 | DOI: 10.1111/j.1475-4762.2011.01071.x
Special Section: Exploring the Great Outdoors
‘My magic cam’: a more-than-representational account of the climbing assemblage
Article first published online: 13 JAN 2012 | DOI: 10.1111/j.1475-4762.2011.01069.
Special Section: Emerging Subjects, Registers and Spatialities of Migration Methodologies in Asia
Methodological dilemmas in migration research in Asia: research design, omissions and strategic erasures
Article first published online: 13 JAN 2012 | DOI: 10.1111/j.1475-4762.2011.01070.x
The aviation sagas: geographies of volcanic risk
Amy R Donovan and Clive Oppenheimer
Article first published online: 3 JAN 2012 | DOI: 10.1111/j.1475-4959.2011.00458.x
Diverging pathways: young female employment and entrepreneurship in sub-Saharan Africa
Thilde Langevang and Katherine V Gough
Article first published online: 13 JAN 2012 | DOI: 10.1111/j.1475-4959.2011.00457.x
Rethinking urban public space: accounts from a junction in West London
Regan Koch and Alan Latham
Article first published online: 19 DEC 2011 | DOI: 10.1111/j.1475-5661.2011.00489.x
The social and economic consequences of housing in multiple occupation (HMO) in UK coastal towns: geographies of segregation
Darren P Smith
Article first published online: 23 DEC 2011 | DOI: 10.1111/j.1475-5661.2011.00487.x
The reputational ghetto: territorial stigmatisation in St Paul’s, Bristol
Tom Slater and Ntsiki Anderson
Article first published online: 30 DEC 2011 | DOI: 10.1111/j.1475-5661.2011.00490.x
Fear of a foreign railroad: transnationalism, trainspace, and (im)mobility in the Chicago suburbs
Article first published online: 30 DEC 2011 | DOI: 10.1111/j.1475-5661.2011.00491.x
Participation in evolution and sustainability
Thomas L Clark and Eric Clark
Article first published online: 3 JAN 2012 | DOI: 10.1111/j.1475-5661.2011.00492.x
Progressive localism and the construction of political alternatives
David Featherstone, Anthony Ince, Danny Mackinnon, Kendra Strauss and Andrew Cumbers
Article first published online: 3 JAN 2012 | DOI: 10.1111/j.1475-5661.2011.00493.x
Article first published online: 9 JAN 2012 | DOI: 10.1111/j.1475-5661.2011.00494.x
by Fiona Ferbrache
As geographers, we are aware of the problems associated with reverting to stereotypes. However, I do wish to draw upon the notion that France is synonymous with good food, if only that you might share my surprise on finding an article suggesting that British citizens living in France are creating a high demand for food imports from the UK. This demand has led to a successful business venture catering to cross-border grocery shopping.
The Guardian report highlights how some Britons in France are online shopping at their favourite UK supermarkets and ordering food (UK and French food – including boxes of croissant) that is then delivered to one of four specialist depots. From here, a delivery firm, catering to these international customers, drives the lorry-load of goods to consumers in France. Geographers might be interested to pursue these behaviours for they reveal much about affective relations between migrants and place.
Longhurst et al. (2009) do just this. Focused on migrant women’s cooking experiences in Hamilton, New Zealand, the researchers explore the visceral experiences of food and how it can help migrant women to connect with their ‘old home’. The research rests on migrants’ senses of food; sight, sound, smell, taste and touch and what this tells us about their emotional relations with place.
Hickman, L. (2010) Expat orders for British supermarket food surge on strength of euro: The Guardian. Wednesday 09 June, 2010
Longhurst, R., Johnston, L. & Ho, E. (2009) A visceral approach: cooking ‘at home’ with migrant women in Hamilton, New Zealand. Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers. Vol.34, 3 pp.333-345
By Rosa Mas Giralt
The History Museum of Barcelona (MUHBA) is currently hosting an exhibition entitled “Connected Barcelona, Transnational Citizens: migratory growth and urban practices”. This exhibition has been developed within the programme Barcelona Cultural Dialogue as a response to the changing population of the city due to a decade of intense immigration. Both from a historical perspective which takes into account former migration flows into the city and also through the lens of transnationalism, the exhibition explores the role of the new dwellers in shaping the contemporary Catalan capital.
In “Transnationalism Unbound” (2009), Francis Leo Collins offers an overview of the contribution that geographers have made to the study of transnationalism and seeks “to draw attention to a more expansive view of transnationalism as a framework or ‘optic’ for viewing the different enactments, experiences and effects of cross-border lives” (451). This exhibition in Barcelona offers an opportunity to reflect on such a wider understanding of transnationalism.
The exhibition runs until 27th September 2009.