Volltext-Downloads (blau) und Frontdoor-Views (grau)

Contested “automobility”: Peasants, townsfolks, and infrastructures of road transport in interwar central and western India (c. 1919–39)

  • Infrastructure-making in interwar India was a dynamic, multilayered process involving roads and vehicles in urban and rural sites. One of their strongest playgrounds was Bombay Presidency and the Central Provinces in central and western India. Focusing on this region in the interwar period, this paper analyzes the varied relationship between peasant households and town-centred modernizing agents in the making of road transport infrastructures. The central argument of this paper is about the persistence of bullock carts over motor cars in the region. This persistence was grounded in the specific regional environment, the effects of the 1930s economic depression, and the priorities of social classes. Pinpointing these connections, the paper highlights that “modernization” of infrastructure was not a simple, linear process of progressivist change, nor did it mean the survival of apparently “old” technologies in the modern era. Instead, the paper pays attention to conflicting social complexities, implications, and meanings of the connection between infrastructure and modernity that modernization assumptions often overlook. Here, the paper shows how technological change occurred as a result of real, material class interests pulling infrastructural technology in different directions. This was where and why arguments of road-motor lobbyists and cart advocates eventually clashed, and Gandhian social workers resisted motor transport in defense of peasant interests.

Export metadata

Additional Services

Search Google Scholar


Author:Stefan TetzlaffORCiD
Parent Title (English):History of Science - Special issue: From Hansa to Lufthansa: Transportation Technologies and the Mobility of Knowledge
Publisher:SAGE Publications
Place of publication:London
Document Type:Article
Year of Publication:2023
Release Date:2024/01/30
Tag:India; Road transport; Infrastructure; Interwar period; Automobiles; Bullock carts; Conflict
First Page:77
Last Page:101
Institutes:Fakultät Wirtschafts-, Kultur- und Rechtswissenschaften
Relevance:Keine peer reviewed Publikation (Wissenschaftlicher Artikel und Aufsatz, Proceeding, Artikel in Tagungsband)
Open Access?:Nein
Licence (German):License LogoUrheberrechtlich geschützt