Towards Decolonised Knowledge About Transport

6 Pages Posted: 1 Aug 2018

Date Written: July 2018


For centuries the transport of people and goods across the globe has been shaped profoundly by Western and other colonialisms. Impacts on the development of infrastructures such as roads, railways and ports as well as transport flows within, to and from origins and destinations are increasingly documented. This essay proposes that expert knowledge about and way of knowing transport systems and practices in former and current colonies are at least as much shaped by Western colonialisms. It advocates a decolonisation of that knowledge and proposes a dual strategy of complicating, slowing down and disrupting existing expert knowledge about transport and of putting new concepts, theories and methodological practices in critical dialogue with each other and hegemonic transport research practices. It also emphasises that moving beyond transport expertise’s colonial legacy is a project that should be led from outside historically emerged centres of knowledge production.

Suggested Citation

Schwanen, Tim, Towards Decolonised Knowledge About Transport (July 2018). Palgrave Communications, Vol. 4, Issue 1, pp. 79-79, 2018, Available at SSRN: or

Tim Schwanen (Contact Author)

University of Utrecht

Vredenburg 138
NL-3508 TC Utrecht, 3511 BG

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