Session 16

16. Mobile Methods and Sociospatial Inequalities

Corporeal, imaginative and virtual mobilities shape and are shaped by patterns of sociability and sociotechnical interactions, power dynamics and sociospatial inequalities. Practices, experiences, meanings and expectations are negotiated while bodies, things, images and ideas are on the move – but also when their journeys are suspended or interrupted altogether. Scholars from different disciplinary backgrounds engaging with such multi-faceted, ambivalent and interconnected issues are challenged to seek (new) methodological protocols and tools that can be useful when investigating who and what is allowed to circulate within and across highly uneven urban landscapes and geopolitical regimes. Following Büscher, Urry and Witchger, we conceive “mobile methods” as analytical resources that researchers bring in while “trying to move with, and to be moved by, the fleeting, distributed, multiple, non-causal, sensory, emotional and kinaesthetic”. If the unevenness and inequality of mobilities due to the concentration of income and resources has increased, it is mandatory to pay attention to the sociospatial asymmetries that constitute, define and enable different experiences of mobility and immobility for women, racialized bodies, LGBTQ+ individuals, people with different degrees of physical and mental capacities. Sensitive to such challenges and stressing the importance of methodologies that cut across disciplines, this session invites critical, creative and politically engaged papers that address how mobile methods may contribute to more inventive and collaborative ways of understanding the social world and of communicating our findings to diverse audiences. Although we welcome contributions that highlight the innovative quality of mobile methods, we also encourage research-based papers that demonstrate how ‘conventional’ methods can also be ‘mobilized’ for better apprehending elusive objects, events and spaces. We therefore envision our session as an opportunity to:

a) open up the discussion about data collection, analysis, and dissemination vis-à-vis the so-called mobilities turn in the social sciences;

b) bring together scholars who apply mobile methods to investigate how sociospatial inequalities impact and are impacted by mobilities patterns at different scales (from daily mobilities to tourism and transnational migration).

Authors interested in submitting a paper for this session are asked to consult the conference guidelines.