The Future of Mobilities: Flows, Transport and Communication

The Future of Mobilities: Flows, Transport and Communication

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Call for papers

Joint conference of the International Association for the History of Transport, Traffic and Mobility (T2M) and the Cosmobilities Network
Santa Maria C.V. (Caserta), Italy – September 14-17, 2015

Deadline for Submission (extended) : March 16th 2015

Aslak Master
The International Association for the History of Transport, Traffic and Mobility (T²M) and the Cosmobilities Network invite proposals for panels and papers to be presented at their first joint conference. The conference will be hosted by the “Dipartimento di Lettere e Beni Culturali” of the Second University of Naples, Italy on 14-17 September, 2015.
Papers may address the conference theme, or any social, cultural, economic, technological, ecological and political perspectives on the history, present, and especially future of transport, traffic and mobility. The conference openly aims to bridge research approaches, welcoming proposals from different disciplines dealing with mobility studies (history, sociology, anthropology, geography, economy, planning studies, business history, architecture, design, communication, etc.) While the organizing association are rooted in history and sociology, we particularly encourage the submission of interdisciplinary panels.
The conference language is English (only).


The conference theme offers several lines of investigation:
• The future of mobilities in terms of both the future of mobilities studies as well as the
future of mobilities itself.
• The question of time-frames, e.g. how research concerning the past and the present
of mobility can be linked to the future.
• Mobility in the broader horizon of flows and emergent connections between transport, communication and movements.
• Trans-disciplinary research paths, and related theoretical and methodological issues.

Mobility studies have developed out of different disciplinary trajectories, with some studying mainly the past (e.g., transport history, travel writing), others concerned especially with the present (e.g., geography of mobility, mobile media), and still others looking towards the future (e.g., the new mobilities paradigm, transition studies). Yet these historical, contemporary, and future-oriented perspectives may all be diachronic in character, interested in processes and projects, rhythms and articulations, transitions and transformations, evolutions and revolutions. This conference proposes to investigate how we might bring these three streams together into an over-arching project of mobility studies.
Established in the 1950s and 1960s, future studies have been taken more seriously within economic fields, which have had the greatest influence on public policy. Although the action of forecasting often relies on the elaboration of historical and current trends, too often social scientists and humanities scholars have played a marginal role in futurology. Additionally, planning and policy in the mobilities field is still largely dominated by the “technological fix” approach, in which social sciences and humanities remain peripheral. Yet the emerging interdisciplinary mobilities studies suggest that learning lessons from the past and paying attention to the path dependency of developments provides a deeper understanding. In practice, a richer perspective on past and present mobilities could help inform visions of the future and enable more sustainable, equitable, and holistic future oriented solutions.


The conference aims, however, is not only to debate the future of mobilities per se and the risks and chances of the mobilization of modern worlds. It also considers – in a self-reflexive way –the future of mobility studies as well as the opportunities and limits of a wider trans- disciplinary cooperation among the different research “tribes”.
The 2015 conference theme also openly challenges the traditional division of study among transport, communication and flows (e.g., of water and sewage, of knowledge and money, of rubbish and debris etc.). The entangled relation among those elements calls on scholars to extend our investigations in multiple directions, while also being cognizant of the greater interdependency we expect they will have in the future. As we breach traditional disciplinary boundaries and tread on others’ territory, we raise new theoretical and methodological questions, presenting opportunities and challenges.
The questions linked to the conference theme include (but are not limited to):
• How do we envision and perceive the future of mobilities?
• What economic, technological, and policy perspectives should we adopt?
• What role will be played by environmental issues?
• How will gender and other social disparities shape mobility futures and inform
mobility studies in the future?
• What is the role of social science and humanities research scholarships and education in relation to policy makers, industries, governments and civil society?
• How relevant can an inquiry into retrospective futures be, e.g. an historical study of the future envisioned in the past, including fiction and science fictions?
• How can – or even should – comprehensive mobility studies shape future mobility landscapes and lives and in what directions?
• What methods would improve our study of the intertwined connections of flows, transport and communication?
Participants are encouraged, though not required, to organize panels on these or any other related themes. A panel consists of a chair and normally up to three speakers (see below for further information on papers and panels).


The Conference will be hosted by the Dipartimento di Lettere e Beni Culturali (Department of Arts and Cultural Heritage) of the Seconda Università di Napoli (the Second University of Naples).
The Seconda Università di Napoli is a comprehensive global research university that is ranked the top among the universities of South Italy. The Department promotes the development of competences allowing deeper knowledge of the complexity of world’s cultural heritage and all forms of interaction with disciplinary areas linked to similar research frameworks. It thus promotes scientific, technological and IT competences for the study, protection, conservation, restoration, and enhancement of the cultural heritage.

The Department hosts an Environmental Policies Watch that aims at encouraging the creation of a network among scholars (not only Italian) who concern themselves with environmental issues.

Santa Maria Capua Vetere is the town hosting the meeting, and it is located approximately 200 km from Rome International Airport, and about 40 km from Naples International Airport.

Field Trips will include the near The Royal Palace of Caserta, and they will be detailed soon.

Paper submission

The submission of a paper includes one-page resume regarding the presenter and one-page abstract regarding the paper itself. Individual presentations at the Conference are therefore to be limited to a fifteen-minute summary to allow for debate and discussion within the session. The full paper (usually 6,000-8,000 words) has to be submitted in a later stage of the process, and only after the selection outcomes.
Panel: A panel consists of a chair and normally up to three speakers; no discussant is required. We especially encourage transnational, comparative and interdisciplinary approaches, and welcome proposals exploring theoretical or methodological issues as well as those of a more empirical nature. We invite recent entrants to the profession and graduate students to submit proposals. A panel submission should include an abstract of 3 one-page, and one-page presentation regarding the papers included. A short biography of the presenters is also required.
Other: Any other innovative way of presenting research outcomes are welcome. In this case, the submitter(s) are invited to contact the local committee via


The deadline for the submission (max. 1 page each; Word or rich text format only) is 16th of March 2015. Send proposals to:

A notification of acceptance will be sent by April 15 2015. The full text of papers accepted must be submitted by 1 August 2015. The conference will be held on September 14-17, 2015
All participants are required to register.

Travel grants and Awards
T2M offers a number of travel grants for young scholars, who are heartily welcome to apply. T2M has also a long tradition of “best-paper” awards. Further information will be posted on


For enquiries about the program, please contact Sven Kesselring or Massimo Moraglio. For information about local arrangements, please contact Federico Paolini. Further details of the 2015 conference will be posted in due course by T2M and Cosmobilties.

Program Committee:

Valentina Fava (University of Helsinki, Finland)
Malene Freudendal-Pedersen (Roskilde University, Denmark)
Andrea Giuntini (Università di Modena e Reggio Emilia, Italy)
Kevin Hannam (Leeds Beckett University, UK)
Sven Kesselring (Aalborg University, Denmark)
Anna Lipphardt (Albert-Ludwigs-Universität, Freiburg, Germany)
Mimi Sheller (Drexel University, USA)

Local Organising Committee:

Massimo Moraglio (Technische Universität Berlin, Germany)
Federico Paolini (Second University of Naples, Italy)
Gerardo Marletto (Università di Sassari, Italy)

Networked Urban Mobilities Conference and Mobile Art Exhibition 2014

Registration is now open! Please follow this link to register

 Keynotespeakers for the conference will be:

John Urry Professor of Sociology & director of CeMoRe, Lancaster University

Mimi Sheller Professor of Sociology & director at MCenter Drexel University

Vincent Kaufmann Professor & director of LaSUR Polytechical University of Lausanne

Stephen Graham Professor of Cities and Society, Newcastle University



Networked Urban Mobilities 

How new technologies change cities, cultures and economies

5-7th of November 2014 
Venue: Aalborg University Campus in Copenhagen, DK
Joint hosts: Aalborg University & Roskilde University

To make cities places of lived social, economic and ecological sustainability, it needs strong and socially inclusive mobility systems. To celebrate its 10th anniversary the Cosmobilities Network invites scholars from social sciences and other mobility relevant disciplines to investigate and assess the impacts of networked urban mobilities on the urban condition.

Cities and regions are constituted by complex settings of social, technological, geographical, cultural, and digital networks of mobility (Graham, Marvin 2009). The urban scale is an essential part of the global ‘network society’ (Castells 1996) with new forms of social and cultural life emerging and with strong impacts on the ecological conditions. The great crash from 2007-8 onwards, means that future mobilities are going to be developing in a resource-constrained world. Excessively consuming infrastructural developments are highly risky for the future of modern societies. Thus, innovation in policies, products, services, and technologies is needed to tackle climate change and increasing urban social and economic challenges. An approach is required which bridges research disciplines and analyses societal consequences of path dependencies, funding decisions and technology policies.

When mobility is made plural and becomes mobilities it stems from the newly emerging field of interdisciplinary Mobilities research (Urry, Sheller 2006; Canzler, Kaufmann, Kesselring 2008; Grieco, Urry 2012). The concept of ‘mobilities’ (Urry 2000) encompasses the large-scale movements of people, goods, capital, and information, as well as the more local processes of daily transportation, communication and the travel of artefacts. These different mobilities are considered fundamental in framing modern social life and urban cultures in particular. All this demands better theory and empirical research to examine the interdependencies between changes in physical movement, electronic communication and their increasing convergence and potential substitution of travel and transport.

Against this background, the international Cosmobilities Network invites researchers and scholars to celebrate its anniversary and discuss their work on the social, economic, and ecological risks and opportunities of these emerging developments. The conference addresses these challenges and calls for the exchange of ideas on how to significantly improve the conditions for life in urban spaces.


We invite papers contributing to the following themes in relation to Networked Urban Mobilities:

Technologies: ‘Seamless mobility’ is a historically grown vision held by architects, planners, and engineers. Optimizing city spaces for the mobility of people, vehicles, goods and so on, with minimum loss of time and energy, has mobilized innovation, capital and entrepreneurial capacities.

Practices: Networked urban mobility infrastructures enable and limit everyday mobile practices of people at the same time. Based upon advanced mobile devices, people can manage complex arrangements of socio-spatial organization, scheduling, and negotiations.

Companies: For the sustainability of urban mobilities modification within companies are a key issue. The rise of the Internet and the spread of mobile computers and mobile phones, as well as recent developments such as Cloud computing have been mobilizing businesses in a way not imaginable only some years ago.

Governance & Planning: The need for sustainable mobilities in urban environments pressures urban politics. ‘Reflexive governance’ and the capacity to allocate expertise and knowledge at the right place and to the right time, is prerequisite for developing non-destructive future-oriented strategies for low carbon and socially inclusive mobilities.

Ethics/responsibilities: Considerations and systematic analysis of the ethical implication of mobility solutions is a research deficit. I.e. overcoming automobility and car-dependency in the Western societies without offering alternative ways of transport in rural areas. Or the use of ICT’s both in mobility research in form of mobile methods and in the application of mobility solutions such as Intelligent Transport Systems highlights problems of surveillance and privacy.

Arts: Art is yet another point of departure for the Cosmobilities Network towards a transdisciplinary perspective in Mobilities research. We explicitly call for artistic contributions on mobility from fine arts, music, film, writing, performance arts etc.

Mobile Arts Exhibitions: During the conference collaborative research will be generated in the form of on site exhibitions exploring themes of mobilities, cities, cultures, economies and ecologies. The exhibitions will inform and be informed by the discussions at the conference and establishing productive relationships between objects, media, places, landscapes, technologies and atmospheres


The open call has closed, but we now invite abstracts for the following thematic sessions:

Cycling Futures

Mobility in the arts

New Corporate Mobility Regimes

Planning Mobilities

Energy Transition and E-mobility: a Chance for Convergence?

Doing Ethnography in Hyper Mobile Fields: Methodological Challanges

Embodied Mobility Practices and Everyday Life

Urbanization in “non-urban” Space: the role of Mobilities in new Urban Epistemologies

Art as Mobile Research: The Journey of Making

Abstracts of no more than 300 words should be submitted  to Malene Freudendal-Pedersen (Roskilde University), or Sven Kesselring (Aalborg University), no later than the 28th of May 2014.


Organization Team

Malene Freudendal-Pedersen (RUC), Sven Kesselring (AAU), Line Thorup (RUC), Enza Lissandrello (AAU), Aslak Aamot Kjærulff (RUC), Katrine Hartmann Petersen (RUC), Dorte Norgaard Madsen (AAU) and Birgitte Steen Hansen (RUC).

Scientific Committee

Malene Freudendal-Pedernsen (RUC), Ole B. Jensen (AAU), Lise Drewes Nielsen (RUC), Kevin Hannam (Leeds University), Sven Kesselring (AAU), Katharina Manderscheid (Universiät Luzern)

Call for papers – 3rd Mobilities conference 2012: Local and mobile

3rd Mobilities conference 2012: Local and mobile: Linking mobilities, mobile communication and locative media

Conference website and abstract submission:

From March 16-18 2012, the Communication, Rhetoric and Digital Media (CRDM) Program and the Mobile Gaming Research Lab at NC State University will be hosting the 3rd joint international conference of the Pan-American Mobilities Network and the Cosmobilities Network.

Invited keynote speakers:
· Paul Dourish (University of California, Irvine)
· Rich Ling (IT University of Copenhagen)
· Teri Rueb (University of Buffalo, SUNNY)

Mobilities has become an important framework to understand and analyze contemporary social, spatial, economic and political practices. Being interdisciplinary in its nature, Mobilities focuses on the systematic movement of people, goods and information that “travel” around the world in rates much higher (or much slower) than before. As such, mobility studies challenge traditional scholarship that often ignores the social dimensions of mobility, overlooking how travel, movement, and communication and transportation networks help to constitute modern societies and communities. Mobility has always been critical for the creation of social networks and to the development of connections to places. In addition, Mobilities contributes to study of the technological, social and cultural developments in transportation, border control, mobile communication, “intelligent” infrastructure, surveillance.

While mobility is an important framework to understand contemporary society, the pervasiveness of location-aware technology has made it possible to locate ourselves and be networked within patterns of mobility. As user generated maps and location-aware mobile devices become commonplace, we experience a shift in the way we connect to the internet and move through space. Networked interactions permeate our world. We no longer enter the internet–we carry it with us. We experience it while moving through physical spaces. Mobile phones, GPS receivers, and RFID tags are only a few examples of location-aware mobile technologies that mediate our interaction with networked spaces and influence how we move in these spaces. Increasingly, our physical location determines the types of information with which we interact, the way we move through physical spaces, and the people and things we find around us. These new kinds of networked interactions manifest in everyday social practices that are supported by the use of mobile and location-aware technologies, such as participation in location-based mobile games and social networks, use of location-based services, development of mobile annotation projects, and social mapping, just to name a few. The engagement with these practices has important implications for identity construction, our sense of privacy, our notions of place and space, civic and political participation, policy making, as well as cultural production and consumption in everyday life.

We invite papers that address themes at the intersection of mobility and location, or related topics, such as:
· Mobile communication and location awareness in everyday life practices;
· New urban spatialities developed with mobile gaming and locative social media;
· Privacy and surveillance issues as they relate to mobile and location-based social networks;
· Identity and spatial construction through locative media art / embodied performance;
· Civic engagement and political participation through mobile social media, new mapping practices and location-aware technologies;
· Borders, surveillance, and securitization with ubiquitous and mobile technologies;
· Aeromobilities, air travel, and aerial vision;
· Alternative mobilities and slow movements;
· Planning, policy and design for future mobilities and location-based services;
· Tourism, imaginary travel, and virtual travel;
· Transitions toward sustainable mobilities;
· New methodologies for mobilities research.

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 and Visual Arts, Politics and International Relations, Public Policy, Sociology, Theater and Performance Studies, Tourism Research, Transport Research, and Urban Studies.

Conference location:
North Carolina State University, Raleigh (NC), USA

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

Important dates:
Deadline for abstracts: 30 October 2011 (800 words, including references)
Notification of acceptance: 15 December 2011
Registration deadline: 30 January 2012
Conference Dates: 16-18 March 2012

Please submit your abstracts through the conference website:

Organizing Committee:
Adriana de Souza e Silva (NC State University, USA)
Heather Horst (Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, Australia)
Lee Humphreys (Cornell University, USA)
Ole B. Jensen (Aalborg University, Denmark)
Mimi Sheller (Drexel University, USA)
Irina Shklovski (IT University of Copenhagen, Denmark)
Phillip Vannini (Royal Roads University, Canada)

For further information, contact:
Adriana de Souza e Silva, Ph.D
Associate Professor of Communication
Interim Associate Director, Communication, Rhetoric, & Digital Media Ph.D program
North Carolina State University

Phillip Vannini
Professor and Canada Research Chair
(Innovative Learning and Public Ethnography)
School of Communication and CultureRoyal Roads University