‘Coming Out’ to ‘Hit the Road’: Temporal, Spatial and Affective Mobilities of Taxi Drivers and Day Trippers in Kunming, China

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Abstract

This article examines how people narrate the relationship between physical and socioeconomic mobility in contemporary urban China. To do so, it looks at the mobility of two different groups of drivers in the southwestern Chinese city of Kunming: taxi drivers and “day trippers.” While a taxi driver and a day tripper engage in the same activity of driving their own vehicles, their experiences of mobility, their status identity and their views of the country and the city diverge due to their differently embodied practices in time as well as in space. The comparison underscores that there is nothing inherent in the relationship between mobility, status and freedom.

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