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An Anthropology of the MachineTokyo's Commuter Train Network$
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Michael Fisch

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780226558417

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: January 2019

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226558691.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CHICAGO SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Chicago Press, 2020. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use.date: 23 January 2020

Inhabiting the Interval

Inhabiting the Interval

Chapter:
(p.48) Two Inhabiting the Interval
Source:
An Anthropology of the Machine
Author(s):

Michael Fisch

Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226558691.003.0003

The second chapter further delineates the technicity of Tokyo’s commuter train collective by exploring the conditions within the commuter-train car. Specifically, it looks at how in learning to inhabit the commuter train network’s margin of indeterminacy commuters cultivate a deeply ingrained sensibility toward its modulating intensities while developing various strategies for negotiating its paradoxical mediations. In so doing, the chapter aims to think with the processes, practices, tensions, and contradictions that emerge within the train car in conjunction with operation beyond capacity. Ultimately, it draws attention to the way in which operation beyond capacity is not a condition imposed on Tokyo’s commuters, but rather a collective orientation produced at an organic level in the labor of commuters to maintain the precarious metastable integrity of the collective’s margin of indeterminacy. At the same time, the chapter considers how various forms of media that have become essential features of the commute in recent years—from cell phones to screens to posters—become folded into the spatiotemporal contours of the system’s margin of indeterminacy to enable new ways of managing its tensions.

Keywords:   Collective, Media, Train

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