Article ID: CBB946526853

Keep Moving, Stay Tuned: The Construction of Flow in and through Radio Traffic Reports (June 2018)


With the rise of privatized automobility and the increase of traffic jams, new sociotechnical systems have emerged that aim at traffic control. Radio traffic information has been a key element in these systems. Through a qualitative analysis of historical radio broadcasts of the largest Dutch news station between 1960 and 2000, this article explores the changing format and content of traffic information updates. I will show how the rather formal, detailed, and paternalistic narratives of the traffic reports in the 1960s gave way to more informal, witty, yet flow-controlling traffic information discourse in later decades. I will explain the dynamics involved by drawing on mobility and media studies and by developing two distinct notions of flow, one of which builds conceptually on Raymond Williams’s work on mobile privatization, the other is grounded in the field of traffic management. In so doing, this article aims to contribute to a better understanding of the role of public radio broadcasts in our world of privatized automobility.

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Authors & Contributors
Flonneau, Mathieu
Sheller, Mimi
Wit, Onno de
Bruhèze, Adri A. de la
Roth, Ralf
Schlögel, Karl
The Journal of Transport History
Tijdschrift voor Sociale Geschiedenis
Railroad History
Editions Alphil-Presses universitaires suisses
Routledge/Taylor & Francis Group
Land transportation
Transnational history
United States
Berlin (Germany)
20th century
19th century
21st century
18th century
Delaware, Lackawanna and Western Railroad Company
Victoria and Albert Museum
Nissan Motor Company Ltd.
Volvo Car Corporation

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