Year of Publication

2012

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Document Type

Master's Thesis

College

Arts and Sciences

Department

Geography

First Advisor

Dr. Anna Secor

Abstract

As cities have become increasingly motivated to be more sustainable, transport cycling has become integral in these plans. Boston is one such city enthusiastic about bicycle transportation. I take a socio-discursive approach to an investigation of transport cycling integration in Boston, MA. First, I explore the historical processes leading to the appearance of bike lanes on U.S. city streets. Next, I investigate how bike lanes are entwined in cycling safety—both in the discursive and embodied dimensions. What begins as a concern of the physical body leads to ideals of legitimacy and inclusivity, of which the bike lane has become a key symbol and act of these imaginings. Third, I tease out how this logic of cycling safety qua inclusivity becomes one that employs a rightsbased notion of social justice in which legitimacy, and ultimately safety, is garnered through becoming intelligible, or visible, as cycling subjects. Finally, I depart from a liberal democratic notion of social justice and make a case for understanding how bike lanes work through the lens of what Foucault terms “security.” I explore how we can view bikeways discourse as a technology of power that can be mobilized to transform social interaction in the city.

Included in

Geography Commons

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