Future Mobilities

This Wednesday (Apr 22, 2015) Malene Freudendal-Pedersen and Sven Kesselring hosted the two sessions ’Future Mobilities – Methodological and theoretical considerations’ at the AAG conference 2015 in Chicago, USA.

The transdisciplinarity (or perhaps even “post”-disciplinarity), the thematically and empirical outreach of the presentations emphasised the new mobilities paradigm as a new way of thinking about the social worlds; it stresses the creative, experimental approaches to ask new questions, undergo new studies and reach new understandings of changing realities.

Malene ‘opened the ball’ with a presentation of Sven and hers research project ‘Mobilities Futures & the City’ experimenting with new methods by developing the future creating action research workshops involving artistic processes and methods to envision ‘mobilities futures’ towards a post-disciplinary approach to urban planning.

Then Mimi Sheller presented a sum up of the outreach and influence of the new mobilities paradigm and how it could be further developed. She emphasised that the mobilities paradigm is ‘NOT just that the world is ‘more mobile’ than ever (as it has been neglected too by some critics) than ever, but that mobilities research is about power-relation and critically addressing normative issues of mobility justice.

Furthermore the new mobilities paradigm is a new way of thinking and studying realities, always taking a starting point in the movements of people, things, cultures, signs, information, waste etc. It systematically involves, merges and overlaps different disciplines. and finally she stated that the new paradigm (a provocative ‘nickname’) should be perceived as a set of methodological and theoretical approaches assembling new kinds of disciplinary hybrids rather than being a new ‘one size fits all’.

The following presentations discussed both methodological considerations and experimentations including auto-ethnographic, emotional assemblages, anthropological ‘becoming’, action research, simulations, interventions, and architectural prototyping trying to get hold on the future mobilities, and theoretical considerations on ethics, utopias, communities, everyday life, embodiment, identities, and beings in a reality directed by mobilities. The presentations included a variety of empirical touchdowns; mobile management, urban governance, tourism, leisure motility, automated car driving, and sharing economy.

Summing up, the sessions outlined new studies combining movements of people, objects, and information in all of their complex relational dynamics to deal with the realities of the mobile risk society all being normative and seeking for change and a belief in a better and more sustainable future. This left us inspired and motivated to keep on the work!

All abstracts from the two sessions are available from this page.

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