Stories of the Gendered Mobile Work of English Lorry Driving

Debbie Hopkins, AC Davidson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

One proposed strategy to overcome labour shortages in male-dominated jobs is to attract female workers. This has been the case for lorry driving in the UK. These efforts, however, often work to reproduce binary gendered stereotypes, or seek to include women without questioning how working conditions and everyday embodied work itself constructs gender roles and difference and is differentially experienced. In this paper, we highlight differentiated lorry driving bodies at work, centring lorries as an essential part of global logistical systems. Empirically drawing from interviews and mobile ethnographies with freight drivers in England, we tell a series of composite stories which uncover gendered ideals of worker-bodies, and embodied experiences of mobilities. With the gendered, embodied life’s work of lorry driving remaining largely invisible and poorly understood, we illustrate the complex intersections between places, people, materialities and forms of work. Through this paper, we show how (gendered) narratives and bodily difference are both reproduced and disrupted through lorry driving work. We argue that only through recognising – and destabilising - the gendered re/production of mobile work will other logistical futures be made possible.
Original languageEnglish
JournalGender, Place, and Culture
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 24 Aug 2022

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