Claiming Rights To Mobility Through The Right To Inhabitance: Discursive Articulations from Civic Actors in Montreal


How do claims for rights to mobility intersect with grievances pertaining to spatial justice in the city? This article addresses the issue by studying the concrete connections made by activists promoting car alternatives in Montreal. The activists’ discursive categories point to the centrality of their conditions of inhabitance in their claims for certain rights to mobility. The discourses are analysed in the context of demands for safe spaces to walk and cycle in Montreal, and in the context of opposition to the rebuilding of the Turcot highway interchange. The article discusses internal dynamics of collective action, as well as the external influences and controls on activists contesting automobility to various degrees and with different spatially grounded priorities. The claims for rights to mobility rely on locally articulated priorities for better conditions of inhabitance, yet with a transversal reliance on a shared sense of threat and vulnerability, and on the representations of a community (whether local or multi-scalar), enabling changes in the physical framing of mobility.