Looking back at seminar # 7 Mobility Justice with Mimi Sheller

The 7th Cities & Mobilities seminar on 20 April focused on mobility justice. Hanna Murray-Carlsson presented the results of her master thesis on mobilities of visually impaired people. The key question of her study was “what creates satisfying mobility?”. Her account of mobilities of visually impaired people exposed the importance of mobility for her respondents as it relates to sense of freedom, independence and affords particular socialities. In the discussion we have talked about the experiences of freedom and constraint in moving around the city that other people may experience, visible and invisible disabilities and ways that people adapt to their social and spatial environments on the move. Martin Šimon presented the results of his study of mobility of homeless people using a mixed method approach – a combination of interviews and GPS tracking. His presentation revealed the complex patterns of mobility of homeless people, their reliance on particular spaces of mobility for the purposes of both dwelling and moving (public transport) and their “invisibility” for transport professionals viewing public “as customers” rather than “as citizens”.

Mimi Sheller presented some key thoughts from her forthcoming book Mobility Justice: The Politics of Movement in the Age of Extremes (Verso, 2018). Building on the thesis that mobilities are constitutive of social relations (or a “mobile ontology”, according to Sheller), she defined mobility justice as a lens that allows to focus on “how power and inequality inform the governance and control of movement, the shaping of patterns of unequal mobility and immobility in the circulation of people, resources, data, information”. She provided two examples of movements for mobility justice from the North American context, Slow Roll and Untokening that converged around aspirations that transcend accessibility connect with broader agendas of racial justice, inclusion, safety, health and social connectedness. Such “shared movements for mobility justice”, according to Sheller represent processes of mobilising mobile commons understood as “access to the cooperative social territories and shared infrastructures of movement (both material and immaterial) which have been produced by human relation to others (both human and more-than-human) through common passage, translation and co-usage over time).” Seeking mobility justice and activating mobile commons is, according to Sheller, crucial to our common future.

See the full lecture here

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