Regimes of Mobility Control: Practices and Promises

Processes of circulation and transport depend on regulation and control. Mobilities of people, things, data, and energy are registered, monitored, and operated, guaranteed by various institutions, border architectures, and control rooms. Control regimes have historically developed in different ways and are accompanied by manifold, sometimes contradictory promises and fears, the complex infrastructural web of which the conference wants to analyze. It brings together researchers from science and technology studies, history, sociology, criminology, urban studies, and media culture studies to provide a comparative perspective on the regulation of mobilities in and beyond the control room.

The conference takes a twofold approach to the question of control: on the one hand, it connects to studies on control room practices and "centers of coordination" (Suchman), which emphasize the technical mediation of cooperation processes. On the other hand, following Deleuze (1992), it accentuates questions of the management and surveillance of traffic flows and incorporates considerations of urban geography, critical security studies, and media studies to analyze in particular the role of information technologies for processes of regulation.

The conference thus focuses on the practices and promises of infrastructures of mobility control: How can the materiality and organization of control spaces be thought together with imaginaries of ordering flows of people, goods, and information? What media are used to construct, disseminate, and deploy private or public authority? How do the histories, path dependencies, and temporalities of complex transportation infrastructures contrast and intersect? The aim is to connect the empirical with the semantic, to understand the socio-technical as cultural and discursive, and to identify which cultural techniques and forms of distributed action determine control (room) work.