There have been striking increases in both long-distance travel and in communications through mobile phones, text messaging, emailing and videoconferencing. Such developments in communication, along with a similar increase in physical travel and movement of goods around the globe, reconfigure social networks by disconnecting and reconnecting people in new ways. This original book puts forward one of the first social science studies of the geographies of social networks and related mobilities of travel, communications and face-to-face meetings. The book examines five interdependent mobilities that form and reform these geographies of networks and travel in the contemporary world. These are: physical travel of people for work, leisure, pleasure, migration and escape; physical movement of objects delivered to producers, consumers and retailers; imaginative travel elsewhere through images and memories seen on texts, TV, computer screens and film; virtual travel on the internet; and communicative travel through letters, cards, telegrams, telephones, faxes, text messages and videoconferences. In the book the authors examine the interconnections between these different mobilities. They research how travel and social meetings require systems of coordination using virtual and communicative travel in-between physical travel and meetings. They argue that, while it might be imagined that there would be less need of physical meetings with improved technology, on the contrary, scheduled visits and meetings have become highly significant. The research shows that they are necessary to social life in the contemporary world, both within business and, especially, within families and friendships which are increasingly conducted at a distance.
Jonas Larsen is Lecturer in Geography at Roskilde University, Denmark. John Urry is Professor of Sociology at Lancaster University, UK. Kay Axhausen is Professor of Transport Planning at the Eidgenoessische Technische Hochschule (ETH), Zurich, Switzerland.
’We are frequently told that we live in an increasingly mobile world. This book is conceptual and empirical flesh on the bones of this observation. Larsen, Urry and Axhausen expertly reveal, through extensive and innovative research-on-the-move, how people produce mobile networks through the practice of moving, meeting and communicating both really and virtually. This is an excellent book which should be read by anyone interested in the mobility turn in the social sciences.’ Tim Cresswell, Royal Holloway, University of London, UK '... readable, thought-provoking window on social life in a mobile world.' Planning, Practice and Research Vol 22, no 2 May 2007 'I recommend this book to anyone interested in the latest theoretical discussion on forms of mobility, travel and social networking. The book provides a solid theoretical framework for developing research in this area and considers a broad range of literature. Furthermore, the research design of the study was exemplary and could lay the foundation for much future work.' Association of American Geographers