Rethinking the Public: Space, Sphere, Subject

Over the past few years, one component of my field research has been tracing discussions of (free) public transportation in Luxembourg through local news and social media outlets. Frequently, I find that transit is constructed in these writings as a subject of knowledge or debate – something about which one can report and express (or refute) ideas. Often, as I have noted before, public transportation serves … Continue reading Rethinking the Public: Space, Sphere, Subject

One Year Later: “#WeKeepOnRolling”

At the beginning of this month, Luxembourg celebrated its one-year anniversary of nationwide fare-free public transportation. In honor of this milestone, the Ministry of Mobility and Public Works (MMTP) launched the media campaign #WeKeepOnRolling (a tagline that feels somewhat less ironic than a reprise of #FreeMobility after the events of the past year).  Undoubtedly the political actors and administrations responsible for this transition – not … Continue reading One Year Later: “#WeKeepOnRolling”

Moralizing Mobilities

In the “before” time (before the COVID pandemic, that is), using public transportation was often conceived and represented as a morally righteous mobility choice. Many of the people I’ve interviewed over the course of my field research in both Luxembourg and the United States (particularly those who use public transportation out of choice rather than necessity) have tended to frame their mobility decision-making in such … Continue reading Moralizing Mobilities

Historic Moments

What does it take to be considered a “historic moment”? It’s a phrase I came across a lot in media coverage of the December 13th inauguration of the tram line from Luxembourg’s city center to the central train station.  “It seems like there have been a lot of ‘historic moments’ in transportation since we arrived in Luxembourg,” I mused to Christian as we listened to a … Continue reading Historic Moments

Systemic Racism and Everyday Mobilities: On Policing and Resisting Bodies

Over the past weeks, I have stood with many of you around the world in grief over the recent murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Manny Ellis, and in anger – about  the Trump administration’s response to protests and about the centuries of systemic institutional racism that have brought us to this point. These acts of physical violence have once again unmasked the everyday structural … Continue reading Systemic Racism and Everyday Mobilities: On Policing and Resisting Bodies

From #FreeMobility to #StayHome

As we creep toward the end of what has been a very long month, the enthusiasm of the beginning of March about free public transportation – and the large public events that marked its implementation – have come to feel like distant memories. It’s hard to believe that just one month ago I was rubbing shoulders with strangers at the Free Mobility Concert, amid marketing … Continue reading From #FreeMobility to #StayHome

The Value of Free

As Luxembourg has moved ever closer to the moment of transitioning to free public transportation, one of the biggest questions under debate is whether this measure will significantly increase ridership. Through informal conversations with my fellow Luxembourg residents as well as dedicated ethnographic research over the past months, I have heard a range of hopes and doubts about whether this move will really change people’s … Continue reading The Value of Free

Transit Transitions: Past, Present, Future

Many of the public transportation changes that my research explores are unfolding in real-time, making this an exciting moment to trace mobilities through the ever-shifting reality that is “the present.” Yet their story also stretches far into the past, with mobility practices and technologies changing rapidly along with society. To understand the present moment in Luxembourg’s history, we must look to the moments that came … Continue reading Transit Transitions: Past, Present, Future

Mobility and Mobilization

In my research as an anthropologist and my personal experiences living and traveling in various parts of the world, I have been struck by the ways in which issues of mobility – whether seen through a social, political, economic, or environmental lens – tend to give rise to passionate and wildly diverse responses. Over and over again, I have been intrigued to find that changes … Continue reading Mobility and Mobilization