Following is my abstract for the session Ordering / Disordering Space and Matter of the 2006 Meeting of the AAG, March 7-11, Chicago, Illinois.
Based on ethnographic research in railway stations and passenger terminals for ferries, this paper wedges itself between people and the things they encounter. Detailed analysis of digital video recordings allows insight into the brief exchanges between men, women and artifacts. Sometimes, these exchanges do not unfold as planned, irritations arise and expectations are thwarted causing a reordering of conduct. Artifacts like the ticket selling machine or the materiality of a revolving door can break established routines thereby opening spaces for play or interaction with others. Terminals with their ticket selling counters, their shops and waiting facilities are places of a distinct phenomenologically accessible materiality; this paper will get involved in this materiality, tracing the relations between people, things, and socio-spatial constellations to understand how the rule of a certain normality is established in terminals and when and how it is destabilized.