Mobilities and Complexities  book cover
1st Edition

Mobilities and Complexities

ISBN 9781138601437
Published October 24, 2018 by Routledge
270 Pages 12 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

The new ‘mobilities turn’ has become a powerful perspective in social theory. John Urry’s oeuvre has been very influential in the emergence of this new field and has had lasting impacts on many scholars. This collection presents originally commissioned essays from leading scholars in the field who reflect on how Urry’s writing influenced the course of their research and theorizing.

This volume gathers contributions in relation to John Urry’s path-breaking work. The new ‘mobilities turn’ made a strong imprint in European social theory and is beginning to make an impact in the Americas and Asia as well. It challenges mainstream theoretical and empirical approaches that were grounded in a sedentary and bounded view of states. It propels innovative thinking about social and media ecologies, complex systems and social change. It bridges many disciplines and methodologies, leading to new approaches to existing problems while also resonating with questions about both history and the future. Mobilities research marks the rise of academic and intellectual cooperation and collaboration ‘beyond societies’, as nations around the world face the ecological limits of contemporary mobility and energy systems.

The contributors represent several national contexts, including England, Germany, Denmark, Finland, Taiwan, Brazil, Canada, Australia and the USA. This book collects personal essays and gives insight into a vivid network of scientists who have connections of various degrees to the late John Urry as an academic figure, an author and a person.

Table of Contents

Foreword I  Foreword II  Part I  Chapter 1: Introduction  Chapter 2: Encountering John Urry: A Fragment of an Autobiography in Theory  Chapter 3: Will There be an Urryism? The Dialectic of a Plural Thinker in Singular Times  Chapter 4: Migration, the sociology of mobility and critical theory  Chapter 5: Postdisciplinary encounters between Lancaster and the rest of the world  Chapter 6: Following  Part II  Chapter 7: Proximity from a distance: virtual and imaginative mobility through the intimacies of life on screen  Chapter 8: Postcards from a City  Chapter 9: The Sensory Pleasures of the Disoriented Tourist  Chapter 10: Some Personal Reflections on the Social Production of Multiple Natures  Chapter 11: On a pilgrimage: A journey with John Urry  Chapter 12: Remembering my special academic journey with John Urry  Part III  Chapter 13: Going places  Chapter 14: John Urry’s adventures in Brazil  Chapter 15: After the End of Tourism  Chapter 16: Tourism, Mobilities, Geopolitics, Events  Chapter 17: Running away from, or with, the tourist gaze  Chapter 18: It’s About Time…  Chapter 19: Ice-Fishing with John Urry – and Other Finnish Episodes of Ontological Importance  Part IV  Chapter 20: Mobilities without weight  Chapter 21: Time - the Particular and the Universal  Chapter 22: A long conversation on meetings, travels, and conversations with John Urry   Chapter 23: Europe beyond Mobilities  Chapter 24: Mobility – why actually?  Chapter 25: How one book and one meeting shaped my aeromobilities research  Chapter 26: Working materials: mobile objects, ideas and people  Part V  Chapter 27: Social Futures  Chapter 28: The Future’s Never Simple when its Complex: Social Forecasting with John Urry  Chapter 29: From Mobilities to Mobile Lives and Beyond: The World According to John Urry  Chapter 30: Liveable Data: a Low Carbon Science Fiction (SF) with John Urry  Chapter 31: A planetary turn for the social sciences?  Chapter 32: Mobility and Simplicity  Afterword

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Ole B. Jensen is Professor of Urban Theory. He has a cross-disciplinary background in political science, sociology and planning. He studies how sociality is reconfigured by complex mobilities in the designed environs and infrastructural landscapes of the contemporary city.

Sven Kesselring is a sociologist and Research Professor in Sustainable Mobilities at Nuertingen-Geislingen University, Germany. His research focuses on mobilities theory, socio-technological change and labour mobilities. His recent publications are Exploring Networked Urban Mobilities (2018, with Malene Freudendal-Pedersen); New Mobilities Regimes (2013, with Susanne Witzgall and Gerlinde Vogl) and Aeromobilities (2009; with John Urry and Saolo Cwerner).

Mimi Sheller is Professor of Sociology and Founding Director of the Center for Mobilities Research and Policy at Drexel University, Philadelphia. She is founding co-editor of the journal Mobilities and past president of the International Association for the History of Transport, Traffic and Mobility. She is the author or co-editor of ten books, the most recent being Mobility Justice: The Politics of Movement in an Age of Extremes (2018).


‘This superb collection is a fitting tribute to the pivotal influence of British sociologist John Urry (1946–2016) in rethinking the importance of mobility in contemporary societies. Within it a global array of key thinkers on the sociology, geography and politics of mobility reflect poignantly on how Urry's remarkable mind and generous spirit touched their work both personally and intellectually. Highly recommended!’

Stephen Graham, Professor of Cities and Society, Newcastle University, and author of Vertical: The City From Satellites to Bunkers