Perspectives from the Humanities and Social Sciences

March 18-20, 2021
University of Vienna

In times of crisis, im/mobilities within a global-local continuum become ever more perceptible, yet not equally transparent. As the COVID-19 pandemic has most recently shown, im/mobilities are embedded in and constituted by social relations, practices and structures. These entanglements are by no means new in academia and have been theorized within the field of mobility studies in the past years. The multifaceted field of mobilities research, expanding across and beyond disciplines, tackles topics ranging from im/mobilities resulting from climate change and (post)colonial displacements, through experiential qualities of embodied movement, to cultural and literary representations and materializations of im/mobilities.

This conference, organized by the Research Platform Mobile Cultures and Societies, conceptualizes im/mobilities as the potential for movement or stillness which is »entangled in the way societies and cultures assign meaning through talk, images and other representations and live out their lives« (Adey, referring to Cresswell, 2017: 7). The myriad entanglements between mobile and immobile actors, practices and objects shed light on different Regimes of Mobility (Glick Schiller and Salazar 2013). Through entanglements, circumscribed within unequal power relations and colonial legacies, translocal mobilities may be perpetuated or reinforced via spatio-temporal entrapments and friction »to keep global power in motion« (Tsing 2005: 6) – leading to the intersection of different scales and modes of im/mobility. Further levels of entanglement ensue from the fact that im/mobilities arise through interactions between human and non-human actors, material objects as well as the natural and built environment or spatiotemporal structures. What is more, im/mobilities are inscribed in semantic contexts and relations of meaning, becoming subjects of artistic and epistemic representations, but also of institutional discourses and policies.

The conference covers a wide variety of topics and combines reflections from the humanities and the social sciences. One of its biggest aims is to find out how a nuanced view of entangled im/mobilities could reveal complex relations of meaning, shaped by geographic, cultural, historical and material contexts. When considering entanglements in relation to im/mobilities, panels and contributions attempt to also look beyond Eurocentric forms of knowledge production. Furthermore, seeing mobility as closely entangled with immobility, a number of participants will explore how mobilities and immobilities interact and are co-produced.

The conference is organized by PhD students of the Research Platform Mobile Cultures and Societies, University of Vienna: Daniela Atanasova, Romana Bund, Dovaine Buschmann, Rachael Diniega, Jana Donat, Barbara Gföllner, Immanuel Harrisch, Nicola Kopf, Sigrid Thomsen.

Confirmed Keynote Speakers:

Peter Adey, Royal Holloway, University of London, UK
Sara Upstone, Kingston University London, UK

Conference Program

Browse through our program online or download pdf