Book Review – ‘ Cargomobilities: Moving materials in a global age’ by Kimberley Peters

By Kimberley Peters, published October 2020


Cargomobilities sheds light on the ‘forgotten’ spaces of logistics (p. 6), and the vital intersections between people, goods, and transport, in a volatile physical and political world. The book, situated within what is called the ‘new mobilities paradigm’, draws attention to the processes of power enmeshed with logistics flows. Here logistical movement is understood as more than simply the exercise of traversing space from point A to point B. Movement is instead understood to be facilitated by systems of control and practices of resistance that make movement possible or impossible. As such, in this important and agenda-setting collection, no longer are logistics examined in mathematical terms or as code to ensure the efficient and smooth routing of movement. Instead, politics has been brought to the study of movement – in this case the ‘black box’ of logistics.

With such a focus, Cargomobilities offers much for readers who are interested in the maritime world and the role of ships and shipping infrastructures for global logistics. Seven of the 12 contributions in the collection have a firmly watery focus. For some readers, it might be argued that a book concerned with cargo mobilities per se is too centred on the maritime realm and the cargo movements that have been made possible via the shipping container. However, while shipping does dominate this collection, it in part reflects the dominance of the sea in the movement of over 90 per cent of all goods. Of the more ‘maritime-focused’ contributions, the book brings together an impressive array of insights to the shipping of cargo that are empirically stimulating and theoretically novel …

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Subjects include: Administration | Logistics | Miscellaneous

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