Queer Theory

Authored by: Natalie Oswin

The Routledge Handbook of Mobilities

Print publication date:  December  2013
Online publication date:  January  2014

Print ISBN: 9780415667715
eBook ISBN: 9781315857572
Adobe ISBN: 9781317934134


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The mobilities literature, as recently developed across the social sciences and humanities, focuses analytic attention on the character and quality of movements and flows. This focus is not in itself novel. Rich bodies of work around such topics as transportation, diaspora, migra-tion, globalization, and more have long brought scholarly attention to the importance of mobility to sociality and spatiality. What sets recent mobilities approaches apart is a particu-lar take on the fact of movement. As Tim Cresswell, in an appraisal of mobilities scholarship, states: “Mobility here is as much about meaning as it is about mappable and calculable move-ment. It is an ethical and political issue as much as a utilitarian and practical one” (2010a, 552). Of course, this central focus is taken in multiple directions as mobilities scholars write from various perspectives, but for many, a mobilities approach emphasizes the social, cultural and political production of movements and flows and attends to the “fragile entanglement of physical movement, representations, and practices” (Cresswell 2010b, 18). Certainly, a strong strand of thinking within mobilities research “track[s] the power and politics of discourses and practices of mobility in creating both movement and stasis” (Hannam et al.2006, 3–4) and emphasizes “the relation between human mobilities and immobilities, and the unequal power relations which unevenly distribute motility, the potential for mobility” (15). In other words, much mobilities work fundamentally attends to the differentiated politics of movement.

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