Future Mobilities? Two special sessions on AAG 2015

On April 21-25, 2015 the AAG (Association of American Geographers) Annual Meeting is taking place in Chicago.

Malene Freudendal-Pedersen and Sven Kesselring will be facilitating two special sessions on Future mobilities at the 22nd of April.


       The first session discusses different approaches and methodologies which can be applied for initiating societal change in the field between mobilities and other disciplines in more depth. It specifically aims at discussion on how emotions and intuitions can be an integral part and element of researching, visioning, and subsequently of planning and development processes.

An important part of the mobilities paradigm is the development of mobile methods, which is a call for new approaches to understand and change modern societies. “…the mobilities paradigm, particularly through its immersive and at the same time analytical momentum, enables researchers to critically engage with the people and the matters they study in novel and highly effective ways, and to orient critically towards the future, not only the past” (Büscher & Urry 2009:111).
The session discusses the significance from different approaches and how this can be brought about methodologically. In relation to art or design, a more deliberate emotional and intuitional approach is often in the forefront, but intuitions also play a major part in the production and appropriation of technologies and spaces. This often conflicts with the researcher’s requirements to present mobility practices from a more rationalistic basis, as tidy, systematically patterend and logical in order to create resonance and understanding for a wider (academic) audience. Through discussion of different methodologies we wish to develop insights and ideas on how to inform the shaping of future mobilities with a deeper and more comprehensive ambition.

Check out the detailed program and presenters for the first session here

         The second session aims at examining how different approaches to future mobilities can be created through reflexive interaction between mobilities research and other disciplines and critical art.

The session fosters discussion on cross-disciplinary thinking and on how e.g art might reach multiple senses and channels of perception, different from those normally addressed by mobility research. It will be discussed if these approaches can show new paths on how to understand and change perceptions and behavior in relations to possible future mobilities.

The scientific foundation is based within the theory of reflexive modernization (Beck et al. 2003) and the new mobilities paradigm (Sheller & Urry 2006). Both approaches emphasize the necessity of new reflexive forms of knowledge production for the planning and transition towards sustainable modern societies.  A profound critique of the path dependencies forming modern societies can also be found in the core of these approaches, a critique emphasizing the key role of emotions, tacit knowledge and intuition in developing future solutions, products and services for mobility and the dealing with distance. Still breaking free of the path dependencies of mobilities seems to be an uphill struggle evoking ethics and following responsibilities from the often dystopian future scenarios propounded. Thus utopian thinking and the ability to think and imagine possible different futures need to be developed and used as a source for creativity in facing and managing the challenges of modern societies such as climate change, social exclusion, peak oil and the need for alternative transport technologies.

Check out the detailed program and presenters for the second session here.

Photo by Eric Allix Rogers via Creative Commons

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