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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:,,

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.


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 for more information

Call for papers – Challenges for the International Mobility of the Highly Skilled, 7-8 February 2013, Barcelona

Call for papers

Challenges for the International Mobility of the Highly Skilled in the XXI Century – Women in movement

7-8 February 2013
deadline for submitting an abstract (200 words): 1st of December.

Geographical mobility among professionals is a vital aspect of the knowledge society, and one which has to be carefully managed by the institutions, governments, enterprises and individuals involved. Mobility facilitates knowledge transfer and the exchange of ideas and innovation between countries and organisations. It also affects people´s labour market engagement patterns, career pathways, and work-life experiences, including their family relationships and caring work.
The conference on “Challenges of the International Mobility of the Highly Skilled in the XXI Century – Women in Movement” addresses the development of mobile careers and their implications for institutions, organisations and individuals. This will be held the 7th and 8th of February 2013 in Barcelona.
The conference will focus on the following topics:
– Statistical data on mobility patterns and professional profiles
– Gender differences in mobility patterns
– Effects on gender agency
– Family support in the mobility process
– Management of national identities
– Knowledge and innovation transfer
– Networks of the diaspora
– Mobility of dual-career couples

The conference will be led by Dr. Ana M. González Ramos, senior researcher in the Gender and ICT Research Programme in the Internet Interdisciplinary Institute (IN3), Universitat Oberta de Catalunya, who will use a life course approach to explore the gender dynamics of mobility skilled professionals, their families and scientific institutions.

For more information see

Call for papers Pan-American mobilities network: Differential Mobilities: Movement and Mediation in Networked Societies

Call for papers

Differential Mobilities: Movement and Mediation in Networked Societies

Pan-American Mobilities Network May 8-13, 2013

Conference website and abstract submission (deadline November 21st):

From May 8-11, 2013 the Mobile Media Lab in the Communication Studies department of Concordia University in Montreal will be hosting an international conference sponsored by the Pan-American Mobilities
Network in collaboration with the European Cosmobilities Network.

Confirmed keynote and plenary speakers:
Darin Barney (McGill University, Montreal, Quebec)
Gisele Beiguelman (University of São Paulo, Brazil)
Micha Cárdenas (University of San Diego, California)
Vera Chouinard (McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario)
Gerard Goggin (University of Sydney, Australia)
Ole B. Jensen (Aalborg University, Denmark)
Jason Lewis and Skawennati Fragnito (Concordia University,Montreal, Quebec)
Danielle Peers and Lindsay Eales (University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta)

Mobilities has become an important framework for understanding and analyzing contemporary social, spatial, economic and political practices. Mobilities research is interdisciplinary, focusing on the systematic
movement of people, goods and information that “travel” around the world at speeds that are greater than before, creating distinct patterns, flows– and blockages. Mobilities research contributes to the study of these technological, social and cultural developments from a critical perspective. The theme of this year’s conference is “Differential Mobilities: Movement and Mediation in Networked Societies”. The term ‘differential mobilities’ has been deployed to describe dynamics of power within networked societies. When we conceptualize movement, mobility, or flows within spaces and places, we need to account for the systemic
differences within infrastructures and terrains that create uneven forms of access. ‘Differential mobilities’, conceptually, highlights how exclusions occur, creating striations of power. It draws attention to differences in
how these inequalities are experienced, the strategies for resistance, and the processes of mediation that have been implemented to instigate change.

We invite scholars, artists, and activists to submit creative presentations or papers that address all aspects of this theme, or related topics in mobilities research, such as:
Alternative mobilities and slow movements;
Borders, surveillance, and securitization with ubiquitous and mobile technologies;
Class, culture and the mediation of mobilities;
Civic engagement and political participation through mobile social media, new mapping practices and
location-aware technologies;
Creativity and the mobilization of resistance;
Discrimination and the built environment;
Embodiment, performance and mobile mediations;
Environmentalism, mediation and mobilities;
Immigration, migration and mobilities;
Indigenous culture and the mobilities paradigm;
Media theory and differential mobilities;
Mobile communications, differential mobilities and everyday life practices;
New methodologies for mobilities research;
Planning, policy and design for present and future mobilities;Privacy and surveillance issues and location-based social networks;
Race, gender and the politics of mobilities;
Regulating networks;
Social movements and mediated mobilities;
Urban and rural spatialities and the geographies of place;
Tourism, imaginary travel, and virtual travel;
Transitions toward sustainable mobilities;
Transportation and differential movements;

Disciplines represented at the conference may include (but are not exclusive to): Anthropology, Architecture and Design, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Communication, Criminology, Cultural Studies, Geography, Media, Sound and Visual Arts, Politics and International Relations, Public Policy, Sociology, Theatre and Performance Studies, Tourism Research, Transport Research, and Urban Studies.

Conference location:
Concordia University, Montreal, Quebec

Conference hotel:
Discounted rates will be available to registered participants.

Important dates:
Deadline for abstracts: 21 November, 2012
(maximum 300 words, including references)

Notification of acceptance: 15 January, 2013
Conference registration opens: 15 January, 2013
Early Registration deadline: 2 March 1, 2013
Conference Dates: 8-11 May, 2013

Please submit your abstracts through the form hosted by the conference website by no later than November 21st:

Organizing Committee:
Kim Sawchuk (Concordia University, Québec)
Jim Conley (Trent University, Canada)
Owen Chapman (Concordia University, Québec)
Adriana de Souza e Silva (NC State University, USA)
Paola Jirón Martinez (University of Chile, Chile)
Mary Gray (Microsoft/Indiana Univerisity, USA)
Ole B. Jensen (Aalborg University, Denmark)
André Lemos (Federal University of Bahia, Brazil)
Mimi Sheller (Drexel University, USA)
Jen Southern (Lancaster University, UK)
Phillip Vannini (Royal Roads University, Canada)

For further information, contact:
Ben Spencer, Administrative Coordinator, Mobile Media Lab
Concordia University, Montréal, Québec

Job opening – postdoc at MAPS, University of Neuchâtel, Switzerland

Job opening

Post-doctoral position at 80%

at the Humanities Faculty, Maison d’analyse des processus sociaux (MAPS)

(Laboratoire d’études transnationales et des processus sociaux), University of Neuchâtel, Switzerland

We are seeking a highly motivated post-doc who will conduct research on the project “Transnational Mobility of Academics in the Early Stages of their Careers: Transforming or Reproducing Gender Regimes” (funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation).

Starting date January 2013 (or upon agreement); the position is a 3 year part-time (80%) appointment

– holds a PhD in a social science discipline (obtained between January 2009 and August 2012)
– demonstrates a good research and publication record in gender and migration/mobility issues
– possess excellent knowledge of quantitative (surveys, network analysis) and qualitative methodologies (biographic interviews, ego-centered networks, etc.) and research experience in both fields
– has perfect knowledge of English and perfect knowledge of French or  German with good mastery of the other language
– demonstrates an interest in interdisciplinary and team work

According to legal conditions of the University of Neuchâtel

A summary of the research project can be consulted at

Applicants should submit a letter of motivation, a curriculum vitae, and a representative publication (all PDF on format) no later than November 15, 2012 to Aylin Bastürk:

Questions about this position may be addressed to Professor Janine Dahinden:

The University of Neuchâtel is an equal opportunity employer.