On 1 February 18.00 the Latvian Association of Anthropologists, in collaboration with the National Library of Latvia, invites you to the upcoming public talk Rules of Thumb: Auto-stop 'Carporeality' by anthropologist Patrick Laviolette in our Narrating the Human series. The talk will take place in Baltic Research Centre for East Asian Studies (ASIARES) Reading Room (level M). Language – English. Admission – free.
The practice of hitchhiking has captured the public imagination in many diverse ways for nearly a century now. It provides a particular form of contested mobility whereby freely acquired journeys, solicited via one's thumb, take on many paradoxical shapes. Just like most other means of automated transport, hitchhiking relies on road infrastructures. It is nonetheless anomalous in that hitchers rely on more different dimensions of such infrastructures than your average motorist, despite not necessarily contributing to, perhaps even resisting, their normative ideological core. Thumbing a ride is thus by its very character liminal, antistructural and peri-urban. This type of travel demonstrates telling features of non-places, placelessness, borderlessness and the stateless. In terms of interpersonal relations, potential problems and challenges can arise, especially when the hitchhiker(s) and driver have very different notions of state hegemonies or subversions. Based on autoethnographic memories and fieldwork findings, this presentation will explore 'auto-stopping' experiences drawn from travel adventures in Europe (i.e., Britain, Benelux, Germany and Slovenia).
Patrick Laviolette (PhD UCL) has an interdisciplinary background in the sub-fields of material and visual culture studies, as well as medical anthropology and human ecology. Much of his research deals with the formulation of British and European identities. He is the author of two monographs published in 2011: The Landscaping of Metaphor and Cultural Identity (Peter Lang) and Extreme Landscapes of Leisure: Not a Hap-Hazardous Sport (Ashgate). His research interests include maps, intellectual biographies, co-operative movements, adventure sports and music-scapes. He is currently completing a monograph provisionally entitled The Hitchhiking Diaries.
Discussant: Kristians Zalāns. He is a lecturer in cultural and social anthropology at the University of Latvia where his research interests include urban power relations, issues of development and affect theory. Kristians has hitchhiked with varying regularity for the last ten years.
Ieva Puzo, Latvian Association of Anthropologists