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February, 2013

Call for Chapters – Book project ‘Discourses and Ideologies of Mobility

Call for Chapters | Book Project:

Discourses and Ideologies of Mobility


Editorial Team

Katharina Manderscheid, Department of Sociology, University of Lucerne, Switzerland.
Marcel Endres, Graduate Program Topology of Technology, Faculty of History and Social Sciences, Technische Universität Darmstadt, Germany.
Christophe Mincke, Centre d’études sociologiques, Facultés universitaires Saint Louis, Brussels, Belgium.


In the last two decades, the conceptualisation and empirical analysis of mobilities of people, objects and symbols has become a legitimate strand of the social sciences. Yet, as Mimi Sheller and John Urry argue, the ‘new mobilities paradigm’ should not be “a quest­ion of privileging a ‘mobile subjectivity’, but rather of tracking the power of discourses and practices of mobility” (Sheller and Urry 2006, p.211). Along these lines, scholars suggest that a ‘politics of mobility’ demands development, which would help to uncover the “social relations that involve the production and distribution of power” and “the ways in which mobilities are both productive of such social relations and produced by them” (Cresswell 2010, p.14).

The majority of mobilities scholars’ framings recognises objects within the dichotomy of mobilities and immobilities, movement and moorings. However, analyses of the formation of mobilities as an object of knowledge shaped by social sciences as well as other scientific discourses has not yet been given sufficient attention. Therefore, this book pursues a strategy of conceptualising mobilities beyond the dichotomy of movement and stasis. As Bonham (2006) argues, transport and movement has to be constituted first as objects of knowledge in order to hierarchise and govern mobilities. It is this formation of ‘movement-cum-knowledge’ — discourses, ideologies, classifications, prioritisations and obscurings — which engenders mobilities as objects of government, power struggles, and truth regimes. This approach moves beyond the discursive differentiations and sheds light on the constitution and various discursive strategies deployed to distinguish between licit and illicit ‘movers’, namely, illegal migrants, high-status expatriots, gypsies, leisure travellers, creative nomads, and so on (Cresswell 2006; Urry 2007).

Following Michel Foucault, we regard discourses and ideologies on mobility as systems of thought, which “systematically constitute the objects of which they speak” (Foucault, 2002, p.54). These systems always contain a normative dimension by shaping specific ideas and judgements regarding the value and handling of various mobilities. Therefore, discourses of mobility are interfused with ideological codings and power hierarchies, which constitute certain social meanings and areas of knowledge. In a sense, both discourses and ideologies permanently build connections “from matters of fact to matters of concern” (Latour 2004, p.225), which are far from “exclusive from science” (Foucault 2002, p.199) Or, as Peter Adey puts it, “mobilities are underpinned by specific ideological and discursive meanings, which are not limited to any boundary between both academic and real social worlds” (Adey 2010, p.14).

Thus, social scientists can simply reproduce and adopt discourses on mobility, for instance in regards to migration and biopower; social networks and circulations; or in studies of mobile genders, bodies and ethnicities. Or social scientists can critically engage with the construction of these discourses by  de- and reconstructing them. The latter highlights that social sciences are frequently traversed by ideological traits, for instance in the concept of automobility, in debates on the right to mobility, in ideas of cosmopolitanism and sustainable mobility, and, not least, in general equations of mobility with modernity and freedom.

Against this outlined concepts of mobility, the aim of this book is to explore the unprecedented career of mobility as a discoursive formation in the humanities and social sciences. Following Michel Foucault, we want to encourage the historicisation of mobility discourses and their ideological implications in the sense of a genealogy and epistemology of mobilities. In accordance, the book´s interest is on mobility as a knowledge object rather than an identified subject within the historical contingency of movement. How do discourses and ideologies structure social life and lived reality? What are the real world affects of/on the will and the ability to be mobile? And, how do these lived realities, in turn, invigorate or intefere with certain discourses and ideologies of mobility?

Based on this framework, the book aims to address the problem on three interrelated levels:

Connotations: We want to explore the ongoing discursive construction, contestation and  changes in regards to the valuation and meaning of movement and stasis, mobility and moorings especially against the background of social change and processes of globalisation. Both, mobility and immobility are highly ambivalent terms differentiating in changing ways between good movers and bad movers, desired stasis and blocking social fixes, the promise of mobility (motility), forced movements and so on.

Cross-Disciplinary Connections: We assume that mobility discourses are often deeply interrelated with knowledge formations in other disciplines, for instance medicine and anatomy, thermodynamic and experimental physics, kinetics and engineering, ecology or evolution theory. The transference of ideas in regards to mobilities from one field of scientific knowledge to another has not yet gained a lot of attention. This also touches the question of what can be identified as the very essence of mobilities at a specific historical time and geographical place.

Science History and Episteme: We also seek to shed light on the uneven picture of the various historical origins of mobility discourses. In the sense of an “archaeology of knowledge on mobilities”, we want to stress particular meanings given to movement in different systems of thoughts and due to epistemological connections between them.

 
Chapter Contributions
We are looking forward to contributions which scrutinise the implicitness of the “mobility turn” as a stringent need as well as the indiscriminate recognition of a world that seems to be mobilised overly across the board. Article contributors should signpost approaches along one of the following lines of argument:

·         addressing the impacts of thought schemes and structures on current social, political and scientific discourses on mobility

·         emphasising conversely the role of mobility discourses for predominant thought patterns in other fields of knowledge

·         picking up, refining or drafting alternate theoretical concepts of mobility and their potentialities for further research

·         addressing the relationship between spatial mobility and other conceptual forms of mobilities (social, cultural, inter-generational, virtual, of thought, ideas, imaginations)

We intend to prepare the ground for a broad topical range of submissions. Exemplary topics could be:

·         powerful figures and metaphors of mobile subjectivity (e.g. “new nomadism”, cosmopolitanism, diasporas, home/rootlessness, ubiquity, fluidity). 

·         materialisations of mobility and their discursive charge (e.g. vehicles, tracks, areas, cities, objects, institutions, procedures).

·         legal, posited and social norms and acceptances of mobility (e.g. registration practices, legal obligations and rights, public opinion, social representations, moral regulations).

·         infrastructural and institutional constraints and possibilities (e.g. public and private transport systems, behavioural settings, incentive schemes, social organisations, social life structures).

·         medial constructions of mobility (e.g. print media, literature, movies, music, arts, news, web content, political discourses).

·         history and genealogy of (im)mobility discourses (e.g. history of movement rights and claims, etymological / encyclopedical origins, conceptual history of mobility terms).

·         scientific concepts and models which hisorically produced certain connotations and meanings  of mobility (e.g. blood circulation, graphical network models, thermodynamics, epidemology).

·         the co-constitution of specific disciplines and profession together with the formation of specific mobility and transport knowledge (e.g. traffic engineering).

·         the interweaving of security and control as a powerful dispositif of the present with normalisation and criminalisation of specific mobile subjects and their practices of movement.

Submission guidelines
Proposals should consist of a preliminary title, an abstract with a maximum of 600 words and a short CV of the author.

Submissions should be sent until March 31st, 2013 to the Editors:

katharina.manderscheid@unilu.ch, endres@ifs.tu-darmstadt.de, mincke@fusl.ac.be

The deadline for full papers is December 31st, 2013.
Papers should not exceed 8000 words.
The book is planned to be published in mid of 2014.

References 

Peter Adey (2010): Mobility. New York: Routledge

Jennifer Bonham (2006): Transport: disciplining the body that travels. In: Böhm, Steffen; Campbell, Jones;  Land, Chris; Paterson, Matthew (Eds.): Against Automobility. Malden, Oxford: Blackwell: 57-74.

Tim Cresswell (2006): On the move. Mobility in the modern West. New York: Routledge.

Tim Cresswell (2010): Towards a Politics of Mobility. In: Environment and Planning D: Society and Space, 28, 17-31.

Michel Foucault (2002),: The Archeology of Knowledge. Abingdon: Routledge (Routledge Classics).

Bruno Latour (2004) Why Has Critique Run Out of Steam ? From Matters of Fact to Matters of Concern, In Critical Inquiry – Special issue on the Future of Critique, 30, 2, pp.225-248.

Mimi Sheller and John Urry (2006): The new mobilities paradigm, Environment and Planning A 38 (2), 207 – 226.

John Urry (2007): Mobilities. Cambridge: Polity Press.

workshop on mobility, discourse and inequality at SGS Kongress 2013

SGS Kongress 2013

26-28 June 2013, Bern

Workshop 09 on Mobility, Discourse and Inequality (in German)

Call for papers

Marcel Endres and Katharina Manderscheid organise a workshop on Mobility, Discourse and Inequality at the 2013 Congress of the Swiss Sociological Association. Deadline for abstracts is 28 February. See http://46.232.176.110/~sgs/images/Workshop_PDF_DE/CfW_09_DE.pdf for more information