Re-acessing Portuguese Coachbuilding and Motor Taxi Cabs in the Early 20th Century

Maria Paula Diogo, José Rodrigues

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


In this paper we propose to test the elasticity of the centre-periphery model when applied to the technologies of mobility at the turn of the 20th century, by introducing a quantitative approach based on a set of critical variables. As a tool for historical analysis the centre-periphery model allows to historicize the notion of “European science and technology” by bringing to the surface its heterogeneity and by strongly criticizing the diffusionist model, and it calls for a continuous reappraisal of the very concepts in which it relies. The analysis presented in this paper stems from the very plasticity of the model and it aims at providing an additional tool for refining the current debate on peripheral mobilities. We propose to use a quantitative method based on Critical Variables to further discuss this concept. The analysis of these Critical Variables reflect the condition of the country, region or city on a centre-periphery scheme, in a two-dimensional diagram. We will use the Portuguese case and focus on two sets of data: the evolution of car body manufacturers and the development of the motor taxicabs industry. Furthermore, by analysing borderline regions between centres and the peripheries we hope to encourage future comparative studies that will sharpen the European scenario on mobility.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPeripheral Flows. A Historical Perspective on Mobilities between Cores and Fringes
EditorsSimone Fari, Massimo Moraglio
Place of PublicationCambridge
PublisherCambridge Scolars Publishers
Number of pages21
ISBN (Print)978-1443890489
Publication statusPublished - May 2016


  • automobile industry
  • models
  • perpheries


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