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The study of 'mobilities' is a newly emerging interdisciplinary field in which Lancaster University is developing particular strengths. The concept of 'mobilities' encompasses both the large-scale movements of people, objects, capital, and information across the world, as well as the more local processes of daily transportation, movement through public space, and the travel of material things within everyday life.
Recent developments in transportation and communications infrastructures, along with new social and cultural practices of mobility, have elicited a number of new research initiatives for understanding the connections between these diverse mobilities.
Technological, social and cultural developments in public and private transportation, mobile communications, information storage and retrieval, surveillance systems and 'intelligent environments', are rapidly changing the nature of travel and of communications conducted at-a-distance.
As mobile connectivity begins to occur in new ways across a wide range of cyber-devices and integrated places, so we need better theorization and research, especially to examine the interdependencies between changes in physical movement and in electronic communications, and especially in their increasing convergence.
These changes are having many effects. The human body is transformed, as it is enhanced by communication devices and likely to be 'on the move'. Changes also transform the nature of 'local' communities and of the commitments people may feel to the 'nation'.
And the global order is increasingly criss-crossed by tourists, workers, terrorists, students, migrants, asylum-seekers, scientists/ scholars, family members, business people and so on. Such multiple and intersecting mobilities seem to produce a more 'networked' patterning of economic and social life.
Moreover, many public, private and not-for-profit organizations are seeking to understand, monitor and transform aspects of these multiple mobilities. These mobilities are centrally involved in reorganizing institutions, generating climate change, moving risks and illnesses across the globe, altering travel and tourism patterns, producing a more distant family life, transforming the social and educational life of young people, connecting distant people through 'weak ties' and so on.
Such new intersecting mobilities are centre-stage within contemporary economic, social and technological developments and in generating profound policy issues, especially in how a mobile life is sustainable into the long-term.
Aims of the Centre for Mobilities Research at Lancaster
This is an area of exceptional growth of academic and policy debate and interest, and Lancaster has already established a distinct market 'niche' combining leading social theory with grounded, policy-oriented empirical research.
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