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ESF SCSS Workshop - The Future of Business Mobilities

Date: 7 June 2011 Time: 10.45am

Venue: Lancaster Environment Centre Training Rooms

ESF SCSS Exploratory Workshop: The Future of Business MobilitiesLancaster University (UK), 7-8 June 2011

Attendance by Invitation Only

The Exploratory Workshops scheme is one of the key instruments of the Science Strategy "pillar". Each year, ESF supports approximately 50 Exploratory Workshops across all scientific domains. The focus of the scheme is on workshops aiming to explore an emerging and/or innovative field of research or research infrastructure, also of interdisciplinary character. Workshops are expected to open up new directions in research or new domains. It is expected that a workshop will conclude with plans for specific follow-up research activities and/or collaborative actions or other specific outputs either within the frame of ESF (e.g. prepare the ground to develop a Forward Look or a Research Networking Programme; publication of a Policy Briefing…) or for submission to the EU 7th Framework Programme or to other European or international funding organisations.

Main Objectives of the Workshop:

The mobilities turn in the social sciences has identified the continued compulsion of proximity in economic activities, manifested in the form of reliance on travel and meetings to secure and conduct business. Current research provides, however, limited understanding of the growing interdependence of embodied business travel and virtual, information communication technology enabled interactions and the way these interdependencies are leading to more and not less business travel. The workshop will develop understanding of theoretical and methodological frameworks that allow future collaborative Europe-wide research to be developed that takes into account this interdependency.

Workshop Agenda

The aim is to develop understanding of the theoretical and methodological frameworks that might allow future research to be developed that takes into account the interdependencies between multiple forms of embodied and virtual business mobility.

Q1. How can we theorize interactions between uses of corporeal (e.g. car, rail and air) and virtual (e.g. email, telephone and videoconference) mobilities and how does engagement in one type of mobility compel engagement in another?

Q2. What are the economic (e.g. profit maximising), political (e.g. career developing), social (e.g. relationship building) and cultural (e.g. norm and expectation fulfilling) roles and drivers of business travel?

Q3. How can mobile methods be developed and deployed to study business mobilities in light of constraints on access?


O1. The bringing together of leading European experts and the development of ways of framing future research into business mobilities using interdisciplinary approaches.

O2. Examination of the context for research of business mobilities from multiple European perspectives in light of the differing forms and roles of business mobility.

O3. Consideration of methodlogical approaches, and the possibilities for multi-method research, to allow business mobilities to be more effectively studied.

O4. The sketching out of an ideal-type project design for a European business mobilities research project. This will act as the basis for the development of a research project proposal involving all or several of the attendees at the workshop.

O5. The development of a Euroean 'business mobilities network' that communicates virtually and meets occasionally for workshops.

European-scale collaboration is needed for this workshop and for future research because of the need to draw on the expertise of a range of individuals, and research centres who will be represented by delegates invited to represent their centre, specialising in different theoretical and methodological approaches to mobilities research. The coming together of European talent will allow a network of researchers to be formed - the 'business mobilities network - with each node in the network acting as a potential partner in future research projects and host of research workshops.

Report publication and dissemination

A report, produced after the workshop, will be circulated to all delegates and act as the basis for the development of follow-on research activities.

Event website: http://www.esf.org/social


Who can attend: Internal


Further information

Associated staff: Monika Büscher, James Faulconbridge, John Urry

Organising departments and research centres: Centre for Mobilities Research (CeMoRe), Lancaster Environment Centre LEC, Mobilities.Lab, Sociology

Keywords: Business, Cities, communication, Information society, Information systems, Mobilities


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