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Perseverance of North American Train Hopping Travels: A Look at the Past & the Present


Perseverance of North American Train Hopping Travels: A Look at the Past & the Present

El Falah El Alaoui, Hicham (2018) Perseverance of North American Train Hopping Travels: A Look at the Past & the Present. Masters thesis, Concordia University.

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El-Falah-El-Alaoui_MA_F2018.pdf - Accepted Version


Drawing on ethnographic materials gathered at three different locations namely Britt, Montreal and online, this thesis looks at aspects of the persistence of contemporary train hopping travels from the perspective of young adult travelers who hopped and traveled via freight trains, once and again, between North American locales. To better understand the current contexts and motivations that continue to entice these travelers to engage in train hopping journeys, I sought to review the historical backgrounds or processes that encouraged earlier forms of train hopping travels in North America especially between the few decades of the nineteenth century and the beginning of the twentieth century. In considering the orientations of the interlocutors participating in this research in light of the historical accounts associated with earlier train hopping travels, this thesis suggests that a certain category of travelers is likely to continue their involvement in train hopping journeys because they consider themselves particularly advantaged in knowing how to navigate the prohibited space of railroad freight lines. More specifically, these travelers derive a peculiar sense of pride in fashioning a style of train hopping by continuing to improvise new train hopping paths of their own. Such improvised paths are not only uncertain, irregular, unpaved or un-pedestrian-like, hence difficult to navigate, but also diverge from other previous yet ephemeral routes. The willingness of some insiders to the train hopping traveling culture to resume finding or tracing their own fleeting paths to a departing freight railcar machine may account in part for the persistence of train hopping journeys today. At times, a few will never hesitate to encourage or even take other potential travelers on such journeys.
Train hopping, Freight hopping, Tramping, Hoboing, and Catching out

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Arts and Science > Sociology and Anthropology
Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Authors:El Falah El Alaoui, Hicham
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:M.A.
Program:Social and Cultural Anthropology
Date:September 2018
Thesis Supervisor(s):Amit, Vered
ID Code:984442
Deposited On:16 Nov 2018 15:32
Last Modified:16 Nov 2018 15:32
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