Passenger mobilities: Affective atmospheres and the sociality of public transport

David Bissell*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    464 Citations (Scopus)


    This paper takes as its starting point the centrality of nonrepresentational registers of communication and comprehension to understanding how everyday experiences of travelling with others by public transport unfolds. Drawing on extensive primary research, it explores how different affective atmospheres erupt and decay in the space of the train carriage; the modes of affective transmission that might take place; and the character of the collectives that are mobilised and cohere through these atmospheres. Acknowledging that these atmospheres have powerful effects, this paper focuses on the trajectories of particular misanthropic affective relations; and how such negative relations emerge from a complex set of forces which prime passengers to act. Yet this call to action is often met with a reticent passivity that transposes these negative affective relations, often in ways that intensify their force. In expanding the realm of that which is often taken to constitute the 'social', the paper concludes by considering how the demands of collective responsibility fold through contemporary understandings of community.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)270-289
    Number of pages20
    JournalEnvironment and Planning D: Society and Space
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 2010


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