Riding the Bus: Symbol and Vehicle for Boundary Spanning

Deborah Jane Romero


This reflective essay examines the activity of a bus tour organized as the result of an ongoing university and city partnership. The author illustrates how riding the bus is not only symbolic for positionality in our society but also how it can be a viable mechanism for initiating boundary spanning and promoting opportunities for place-based learning and future engagement. This essay focuses on the concept of boundary spanning and the roles and domains most often associated with this activity by exploring the language and metaphors invoked in the term. The notion of boundary spanning is framed as an activity system, coupled with consideration of how riding the bus facilitates less traditional participants’ engagement. The author concludes by proposing that the activity of riding the bus can inform the boundary spanning metaphor while also serving as a mechanism to mobilize further engagement efforts.

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