Maintenance, regulation and public. A socio-historical approach for infrastructuring the tramway

By Lise Arena, Marc Relieu

Maintenance work often raises organizational questions about its need for centralization, given its diversified activities, scattered throughout the organization and often operated by actors with very different qualifications. This article is devoted to the study of multiple forms of maintenance, associated with the regimes of attention (Denis and Pontille, 2020), vigilance and intervention that characterize a public transport organization and which are precisely the elements that are indispensable to the daily survival of these systems. With the aim to historicize an infrastructure, this work shows to what extent the ordinary management practices of maintenance and repair in the first half of the 20th century (emergence and golden age of the Nice tramway) have evolved and transformed the roles and division of labor between machinists, mechanics, controllers, depot agents and movement managers, under pressure from the public. It is indeed a maintenance based on coordination and entanglement that feeds the durability of a tramway infrastructure.

  • infrastructuring
  • maintenance
  • historical perspective
  • coordination
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