Laurier E, Philo C, 2003, "The region in the boot: mobilising lone subjects and multiple objects" Environment and Planning D: Society and Space 21(1) 85 – 106
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The region in the boot: mobilising lone subjects and multiple objects
Eric Laurier, Chris Philo
Received 26 June 2001; in revised form 5 July 2002
Abstract. Company regions are forms of space busy with the sorting and distributing of objects from one location to another. We argue here, in sympathy with actor-network theory and nonrepresentational theory, that space is formulated by and formulative of its objects in mutually elaborating occasions and chains of action. The handling of objects that produces regions requires not simply that they are put in a place, but that they are put in a relevant place. Finding the relevant where is bound to the relevant when in the sense that the uses of objects are bound to sequential considerations of the kind: what happens next? Regions are cultural, social, political, and sometimes theoretical entities for economists, geographers, and other professional social scientists, but they are also topics of concern to regional managers of business companies, who are unavoidably and pervasively involved in the practical activities of spatial organisation. In this paper we are pursuing the situated replication of sociospatial technologies, or, in other words, how the same thing is done over and over again by local employees, with both the materials that they have at hand and the contingent circumstances in which they locate themselves. In pursuing our analysis we follow one particular mobile worker as she goes about her daily work of managing her region. What we attempt to excavate from our ethnographic material is the order that is endogenous to those activities. It is an everyday order that does not turn on spectacular technologies but turns, rather, on mundane ones such as stacking cardboard boxes, arranging items in the boot of a car, and driving around a city.
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