As Work Wise Uk's Commute Smart Week comes to a close, I thought I might write a piece that, I hope, will raise some thoughts and reflections about how and why our commutes might offer a space for escape and freedom. Taking a critical, analytical view here, I offer some thoughts on the commute as a space ‘in-between’ in which we can momentarily break away from the multitude of identities we seek to maintain in contemporary society, and temporarily find a sense of sanctuary in a working world characterized by change and fluidity.
The commute. On a train, on a bus, or in a car. It is a space in-between the dominant spaces of work and home. It is a liminal space. Or is it?
In my paper, ‘Liminality, space and the importance of ‘transitory dwelling places’’ (Shortt, 2015), I argue that spaces in-between – or liminal spaces – become transitory dwelling places when they are made meaningful by workers. I was talking about spaces at work in this paper – like corridors, stairwells, and toilets. Places in which, as my research shows, workers hang out in order to seek privacy, escape the visibility of work, or hide away with colleagues for snatched conversations away from the open-plan office. But recently, my commute in my car from Bath to Bristol and back seems to be taking on similar characteristics. It’s my little space in-between. My space to escape.Read More