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SOCL937: Mobilities, Society & Change

Module convenors: John Urry and others

Module Aims

  • compare and use a range of theories of mobilities, societies and change;
  • investigate, gather evidence about, and think critically about socio-technical change in the movements of objects, people and ideas
  • develop skills of folding sociological insight into interdisciplinary research and development, design and policy

Course Approach

This module explores social practices of diverse mobilities and their intersections with technologies and environments.

Activities include reading and seminar discussions on a variety of topics, student presentations, empirical fieldwork and interdisciplinary collaboration with design researchers and students, and policy-makers from Lancaster City Council.

Tutors will provide introductions, guidance and examples, and facilitate activities

Topics Covered

  • Social theory, mobilities & change
  • Meeting-ness
  • Mobile publics
  • Disaster mobilities
  • Mobilities, space and place
  • Mapping, tracking, interrogating
  • Mobile methods and design
  • Does mobility have a future?


One 5000-word essay

Indicative Reading

  • Katz, J.E. and Aakhus, M. (eds) (2002) Perpetual contact. Mobile communication, Private talk, public performance. Cambridge University Press
  • Sheller, M. & Urry, J. (2006) ‘The new mobilities paradigm’ Environment and Planning A 38(2) 207 – 26 Thackara, J. (2006) In the bubble. Designing in a complex world. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press
  • Urry, J. 2007. Mobilities. Cambridge: Polity
  • Varnelis, K. (ed) (2008). Networked Publics. The MIT Press
  • Elliott, A. and Urry, J. (2010). Mobile Lives. Routledge
  • Büscher, M., Urry, J. and Witchger, K. (eds) (2011) Mobile Methods. London: Routledge
  • Cresswell, T. (2006) On the move. Routledge
  • Adey, P. (2009) Mobility. London: Routledge

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