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Owners of the Map: Mobility and Mobilization among Motorcycle Taxi Drivers in Bangkok

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  • Winner of the SUNTA 2012 Best Graduate Student Paper Prize

Abstract

In this article, I discuss the connection between spatial mobility and political mobilization among motorcycle taxi drivers during the 2010 protests in Bangkok. Through the study of their multiple roles, both as transport operators and as political mobilizers, I explore the nexus of mobility and mobilization and analyze motorcycle taxi drivers as central political actors in contemporary Thailand. In this sense, the article focuses on investigating the historical emergence of “technique of mobilization” based on modulation and control over mobility. I analyze acts of disruption of movement along major infrastructures as moments of time-space modulation as well as transformative strategies that set in motion alternative messages and configure new modalities of political mobilization. Focusing on such techniques, both in the 2010 Red Shirts protest and in other Thai political mobilizations, I explore the solidification of spaces of mobility as major political arenas for political struggles in contemporary Thailand.

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