The way they blow the horn: Caribbean dollar cabs and subaltern mobilities
In this article, I map subaltern mobilities: practices of movement that I define as flexible, vernacular, and specific to postcolonial subjects. I do so through a six-month ethnography of “dollar cabs” used by Caribbean immigrants in Brooklyn, New York—taxis recognized not by exterior color or medallion but by the way they blow their horns, the familiarity between driver and passengers, and other diacritics this article critically attends to. These discursive geographies and practices allow Caribbean immigrants to navigate the U.S. urban landscape and to interact with each other in unique ways. Because dollar cabs often operate outside of dominant structures of licensure, they have been studied primarily as informal paratransit systems. This article offers a critique of the framework of informality as it relates to mobilities of subaltern subjects and argues that, given their focus on systems rather than practices, scholars have foreclosed on the analytical possibilities of fully understanding the social within these geographies of mobility. Through this ethnography I make a significant theoretical and methodological intervention by showing how both international and local subaltern movements and flows have disrupted, produced, and been affected by the global city.
Annals of the American Association of Geographers
Best, Asha, "The way they blow the horn: Caribbean dollar cabs and subaltern mobilities" (2016). Geography. 814.