Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


The Road -- ­A Meeting Place

We have all traveled on roads. A road may be a way to get from A to B or it may be an adventure. The interaction along our roads has now been mapped, and one of the conclusions is that the road is used in a way that makes it similar to a local newspaper.

In his dissertation in sociology at Göteborg University in Sweden Daniel, Normark has studied the social interactions that take place along our roads. He has traveled thousands of miles around Sweden and photographed illegal road signs that people put up, to show that they exist, to offer goods for sale, leave political messages, or in other ways inform drivers and others about something they think is important.

He has also interviewed some of the people behind the signs.

What's more, he worked at a gas station for a few months to gain insights into how Swedish gas stations contribute to the mobility we associate with the road and how they affect people on the move.

He traveled by bus for six weeks to study the social interaction of bus drivers, how they meet along roads and at bus stops, and how the road itself is a resource for relating to other people and to the job.

Daniel Normark's dissertation shows that the road is a place for encounters between those traveling them and those who live and work along them. They are a natural part of our use of roads.

Alongside roads we encounter traffic signs, road signs, symbols, placards, and advertising that remind us how we should relate to each other. In studying these expressions Daniel Normark formed an alternative perspective on how roads can be understood.

Traditionally, roads are seen as infrastructure, but Normark establishes in his dissertation that they are more similar to a local newspaper or the Internet than to a power grid.

In other words, we can choose to apprehend roads as 'media,' a word that in an everyday sense has come to be synonymous with the mass media and mass communication, that is, how images, facts, opinions, information, and other expressions are disseminated via newspapers, TV, movies, the Internet, books, etc. Local newspapers have notices about one-off auctions, for instance, just like placards we see along the roadside.

The business hours of stores can be read in a newspaper ad or on a sign by the road.

The Family page in newspapers posts birthdays and deaths, but such information is sometimes seen along the road in the form of flowers, candles, or hand-painted signs.

In other words, the road has become a forum for people to express themselves and reach out with their message to anybody who travels that particular stretch for whatever reason.

It presents a fascinating environment to study in the subject of sociology, to learn more about the interaction that manifestly takes place there.

Title of dissertation: Enacting Mobility: Studies into the Nature of Road-related Social Interaction

Author of dissertation: Daniel Normark, phone: +46 18-52 56 30 (home); cell phone: +46 702-48 59 49; e-mail:

Eva Lundgren | idw
Further information:

More articles from Social Sciences:

nachricht New population data provide insight on aging, migration
31.08.2016 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)

nachricht PRB projects world population rising 33 percent by 2050 to nearly 10 billion
25.08.2016 | Population Reference Bureau

All articles from Social Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Etching Microstructures with Lasers

Ultrafast lasers have introduced new possibilities in engraving ultrafine structures, and scientists are now also investigating how to use them to etch microstructures into thin glass. There are possible applications in analytics (lab on a chip) and especially in electronics and the consumer sector, where great interest has been shown.

This new method was born of a surprising phenomenon: irradiating glass in a particular way with an ultrafast laser has the effect of making the glass up to a...

Im Focus: Light-driven atomic rotations excite magnetic waves

Terahertz excitation of selected crystal vibrations leads to an effective magnetic field that drives coherent spin motion

Controlling functional properties by light is one of the grand goals in modern condensed matter physics and materials science. A new study now demonstrates how...

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Greater Range and Longer Lifetime

26.10.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering

VDI presents International Bionic Award of the Schauenburg Foundation

26.10.2016 | Awards Funding

3-D-printed magnets

26.10.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering

More VideoLinks >>>