Piloted by Dr. Max Bergman, this comparative study, led by French, American, South African, Indian and Chinese research teams, explores the role of the imaginaries of decision-makers in choices relative to the train and rail infrastructures.
Hanja Maksim is a sociologist and holds a PhD from Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, where she was previously member of the Laboratory of Urban Sociology. She now joined the Social Research and Methodology Group at the University of Basel. Her research fields include mobility potentials, accessibility, social inequality and public policies.
Manfred Max Bergman is Professor of Social Research and Methodology at the University of Basel, Switzerland, and Fellow of the African Doctoral Academy (Stellenbosch University) and the Centre for Research on Evaluation, Science and Technology, South Africa. His research interests include sustainability in relation to health, education, work, and corporations.
Zinette Bergman is a researcher at the Social Research and Methodology Group of the University of Basel, as well as a doctoral candidate at the University of South Africa (UNISA). Apart from mobility, she also works on education and health in Africa.
He is an assistant professor of contemporary history at the Paris Diderot University. He works on the history of mobility in the European metropolis (Paris, London, Roma...) but also on the recent history of railway in France. He is involved in the animation of different associations in these fields (T2M, P2M, AHICF...).
Fabian Kröger studied Political Science, Cultural Theory and Gender Studies in Berlin. Actually he is working on a bi-national Ph.D. project in History of Technology and Cultural Theory (University Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne / France and Humboldt-Universität of Berlin / Germany) about the relation between Image History and History of Knowledge of the car accident in France and the United States.
Doctor in Political Science, Harold Mazoyer’s PHD dissertation focused on the prominence of economic experts within transportation government between 1960 and 1982, in France. Member of the Passé-Présent-Mobilité (P2M) association, he is currently a post-doctorate in the IRICE laboratory and teaches at the University of Anthropology, Sociology and Political Sciences of Lyon and at Sciences Po Lyon.
Associate professor of History, Léonard Laborie is a researcher of the French National Scientific Research Council (CNRS) since 2010. Member of the ANR Resendem project, he previously taught at the University Pars-Sorbonne (2001-2008) and was a Fulbright Visiting Scholar at the George Washington University, USA.
Mimi Sheller is a key theorist in mobilities studies. She is Professor of Sociology and founding Director of the New Mobilities Research and Policy Center at Drexel University in Philadelphia. She was co-founder with John Urry of the Centre for Mobilities Research at Lancaster.
AllenBatteau is a cultural anthropologist and Associate Professor at Wayne State University in Detroit. He is the author of The Invention of Appalachia, Culture and Technology, and more than 20 articles in academic journals. He has done research and made presentations on human factors, aviation, industrial productivity, and corporate culture in the United States, Mexico, China, and France.
Managing Director, SMART, University of Michigan (http://um-smart.org/blog). Focus: Sustainable transportation systems & related innovation, entrepreneurship, industry cluster development, attitudes & behaviour. Scope: Global Urban Regions. Aims: Deepening understanding, accelerating implementation.
Frederick Gamst taught at Rice University and the University of Massachusetts, Boston. He received the Conrad Arensberg Award for anthropology of work and industry in 1995. He worked in the US and Canadian rail industries for 58 years as employee, researcher, and consultant (railroads, rail unions, government agencies).
Under the guidance of Dr. Max Bergman, who specializes in mixed methods in the social sciences, five research teams will explore the role of imaginaries in decisions linked to the train. What imaginaries are at play when it comes to the train, both for decision-makers and users? What role do they play in the development of rail projects? And finally, what do they tell us about the way decisions are made in this field?
The aim of this research is to better understand the different rationalities, even fantasies, at work in decisions regarding the train, and to identify their national and cultural underpinnings so as to inform future rail policies.
The ImagineTrains project shall take the form of an international, multi-disciplinary comparative study. A French team - combining members of the Identités Cultures Territoires (ICT) research laboratory (Université Paris Diderot) and members of the association Passé Présent Mobilité (P2M), headed by Dr. Arnaud Passalacqua - will bring together historians and political scientists. An American team, led by anthropologist Dr. Allen Batteau, will include sociologists, anthropologists and urban planners from Wayne State University, Drexel University and the University of Michigan. These three-year studies will be complemented by three two-year studies in South Africa, India and China.
To study the individual and collective imaginaries of political decision-makers, the researchers will conduct individual and collective interviews, perform case studies on existing, planned and abandoned lines, and analyze media (oral archives, images, museum collections, advertising, music, film, literature, etc.). The results of these investigations will be aggregated by country and then incorporated into the overall project.
Paper and web publications will punctuate the project over the three years. At the end of the project, in spring 2016, a workshop, conference and comprehensive report will present all of the findings, as well as provide recommendations aimed at informing the decisions of the policymakers of tomorrow.
Welcome to the ImagineTrains project webpage. In this project, decision makers, researchers, and others from France, the US, South Africa, India, and China explore the imaginary of the train. You can read more about the general outline of The Project or see how the “Imaginary of the Train among Decisions Makers and Train Users” is studied in France, The United States, China, India, and South Africa. This website also offers the opportunity to read each country’s Project Blog, where the research teams are reporting on the different research phases. You can also access some of the interviews and focus groups that have been conducted, as well as information, images, and videos. Also available are publications, Project Reports and a digital database of images of trains and mobility from different places. Bringing together these diverse resources gives you the opportunity to look at, listen to, watch, and read about the Imaginary of the Train as it manifests in different global and cultural contexts. We invite you to compare and contrast these different perspectives while exploring your own Imaginary of the Train.