Compare And Contrast Two Views Of How The Relationships Between People And Traffic Are Ordered

1617 words - 7 pages

Compare and contrast two views of how the relationships between people and traffic are ordered.

This essay will compare and contrast two views of how the relationships between people and traffic are ordered. The first part will show two different views and social order is constructed to understand how human beings behave in a social environment using the studies conducted by Goffman and Foucault as sources. How traffic is ordered will be covered next and finally how the human and vehicular social order comes together in the contrasting views of Buchanan and Monderman and how these two different elements of society can co-exist.

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He states that society is an entity that is constructed from the interactions of many people (Silva, 2009, p.316). Goffman is a participant in his study; he watches the people and their interactions.

Foucault on the other hand examines how social order is shaped and organised by authoritive knowledge (Silva, 2009, p.319). He believes that people are largely docile and compliant in this form of social ordering. Foucault believes that power brokers like parents, schools and the state have different methods of governing social conduct. Foucault stated that this power works in subtle ways through discourse of what can and cannot be talked about. The topics change through time but the agents with power remain the same. Surveillance is one tool used to control the population (Silva, 2009, p.321) and encourage them to behave in a way that is deemed acceptable in today’s society. Foucault uses the opposite method to that of Goffman in that he uses historical documents and data to determine what was relevant in the present.

The ordering of traffic is relatively simple as it does not contain the imperceptible rules that govern human interactions. The rules that govern how traffic should behave are written down in law. There are speed limits and methods of controlling traffic such as lights and roundabouts. People need to be tested and licensed to drive to prove that they are competent to do so. As presented in the following paragraphs the UK has had to adapt very quickly to coincide with the rapid increase in car ownership.

Most towns and villages in the UK were originally laid out in a time when cars did not exist and so the only method of getting around was to walk or with the use of horses. This leads to the assessment that the lines of communication between the marketplace and people’s homes for example didn’t need to be very wide, as fire and not traffic was the main concern at that time. After the end of the Second World War and in particular the 1960s that car ownership really increased (Silva, 2009, p.325). From that time onwards traffic movement was the dominant factor in urban design.

The Buchanan Report was published in 1963 when it was predicted that cars would rule the UK transport system (Silva, 2009, p.326). By 1949 there were 46.5 billion vehicle-kilometres (VKM), by the time Buchanan released his report this had more than quadrupled. With 506 billion VKM being used up by the UK’s road network in 2006, with private cars making up 79% of these VKM (Silva, 2009, p.326). With this amount of traffic sharing space with pedestrians Buchanan’s idea was to segregate the vehicles from those on foot. New roads needed to be built to cope with the increasing amount of traffic along with improved urban planning and redevelopment of the older town networks used for on foot or horse-drawn mobility. The corner stone of Buchanan’s idea was that of ‘rooms’ that are used for urban living, working, shopping etc. ...

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