Institute of Social Sciences, University of Lisbon, Portugal Thursday 10 – Friday 11 September, 2015
Metaphors of mobility have provided a wide range of new connections between fields once imagined as unrelated. Frameworks of mobility enable thinking through topics such as tourism, migration and nomadism as well as urbanisation, embodiment and transport as happening in parallel and in concert, rather than as ideologically divisible categories. Likewise, recent work on materiality has prompted us to reconsider how peculiar combinations of both what might be considered material and what might be conceptualised as immaterial are involved in producing, managing, or hindering contemporary movements. Attention to materialities has allowed for a more nuanced conceptualisation of a world shaped by ‘stuff’ and ‘things’ (Henare et al. 2007; Miller 2009), as well as recognition of the multiple and alternative ‘ontologies’ that constitute the world(s) people live in. This has been paralleled by a renewed focus on themes such as hope and imagination (Moore 2011; Salazar and Graburn 2014), affect and morality (Berlant 2011; Zigon 2008), personhood and subjectivity (Strathern 1988; Humphrey 2008; Moore 2007), and hegemonic narratives of value that shape uneven power relations in the contemporary world (Glick Schiller and Salazar 2014), which also fit productively into anthropological reflections on (im)mobility.
The aim of this workshop is to bring together scholars working on, and problematising, the (im)material dimensions of contemporary mobility with a particular emphasis on exploring embodiments, ephemera and ecologies that are often researched in isolation of one another. Whether it is the phenomenology of transport, migration, media, material culture, or the multiple moralities, imaginaries, and ontological horizons that interact through movement today, this workshop will challenge commonly clustered fields of analysis. We envision sketching a more comprehensive, plural, and composite vision of mobility, and asking what kinds of collaborations and connections can emerge from of approaching (im)materialities in mobilities as a possible unifying pattern of analysis.