Call for Chapters | Book Project

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
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:
[email protected], [email protected], [email protected]
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:
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.