Mobile Futures: Transport Transitions in Southeast Asia

The Sociology and Anthropology Department is pleased to sponsor a colloquium on motorcycles and cars in Southeast Asia by Ivan V. Small (assistant professor of anthropology, Central Connecticut State University). All are invited.

Mobile Futures: Transport Transitions in Southeast Asia
October 13, 4:00 p.m.
Academic West 112

This talk examines consumption patterns in Vietnam’s shifting transportation market and considers them within broader design and marketing infrastructures shaping emerging markets in the region. First I explore the strategies and histories of Vietnamese buyers and sellers participating in the transportation commodity market starting with the growth of motorcycle. I examine how motorcycles were used not only for consumptive purposes but also served as stores of economic and symbolic value. However, shifts in manufacturing and recent regional and international trade agreements mandating tariff reductions are reorienting material and temporal relations to the market. In this transition period in which the meanings and valuations of the motorcycle are shifting, anticipations of automobiles are paramount. In the second part of the talk I move from micro examinations of motorcycle and automobile user experiences to macro perspectives on market design to discuss how a transnational transportation industry is anticipating and engaging new consumer publics in not only Vietnam but the Asian region more broadly through an exploration of effective notions of mobility, and in the process potentially framing an emerging Asian “cultural market” around and with them. I suggest that identifying collaborative opportunities for stakeholders in academia, industry, and policy to explore issues of transportation and mobility preferences and developments in Asia may be a productive arena for further lateral learning and analytic insight.

Professor Small’s visit is sponsored by the Meerwarth Speakers Fund; International Relations; Markets, Innovation, and Design; and the Bucknell Institute for Public Policy.

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