BRICs on the Move - POSTPONED

Date: 12 November 2010

Venue: IAS Meeting rooms 2/3

BRICs on the Move
BRICs on the Move

Unfortunately, this event has been postponed until further notice. Apologies for any inconvenience.


BRICS on the Move

Centre for Mobilities Research, Lancaster University12 November 2010 in The Institute for Advanced Studies MR2/3 (no.17 on map)

Workshop Organisers: Thomas Birtchnell, David Tyfield & John Urry, CeMoRe

The acronym BRICs (Brazil, Russia, India, China) was coined by the Goldman Sachs consultant Jim O'Neill in 2001. It has since become a common umbrella term in media, academic and government rhetoric about the future potential of these 'emerging giants', in particular the threat/opportunity that these economies present to the developed world. The regionalised perspective of BRICs encourages a commodified picture of these countries around major risks/opportunities: investment, global hegemony, social transformation and climate change. The BRICs is the West/North's dream of a new East/South with geo-political status and power to rival the developed world. Indeed, much BRICs discourse echoes Cold War rhetoric, which in turn resonates with the unspeakable commonality (for investors at least) that all four of the BRICs were (or remain, in title) socialist states.

Against such a limited understanding of the BRICs, this one-day conference will explore three inter-related issues regarding which they may be said to be 'on the move'; first, their (individual national and/or collective) geopolitical rise and its global impacts; secondly, the ongoing and parallel historical process of (concerted) construction of the BRICs as a social and political reality; and, thirdly, the role of increased mobility (inter- and intra-nationally) in constituting these rapidly changing societies.

To represent these countries as a unified group belies each country's own set of economic, social and political relations, both intra-nationally and with their regional neighbours and the developed world. This denies, inter alia, the socio-historical cross-border exchanges that encouraged the emergence of these countries. The flows of remittances, migration, innovation, knowledge, technology and talent that constitute disorganised capitalism go under the radar of conventional commentaries on BRICs. Strange couplings and contradictions also emanate from this new geo-political ordering. There is thus great potential for social scientists to challenge the conventional usages of such blanket terms by offering concrete examples of how global complexity within which, and mobilities by which, these nation-states emerged disrupt and deconstruct convenient acronyms like BRICs. The mobile turn in sociology can thus temper reports in the media and finance of threat and opportunity that feed into government strategies and foreign policy, thereby challenging the stark and binary choices between dystopic futures posed by this conventional framing.

Papers and presentations are invited on topics on themes such as:

  • Automobility and the emerging powers;
  • Case studies on individual BRICs countries and mobilities issues;
  • Global impact of BRICs-based innovation, including for socioeconomic development;
  • Transnational elites, migration, tourism, remittances, capital flows, trade;
  • Socio-political history of BRICs or related global quasi-institutions;
  • Media representations of BRICs in terms of emerging powers/giants rhetoric;
  • Low carbon innovation/technology/knowledge transfer and the impact of the BRICs on climate change mitigation and adaptation;
  • Critiques or sociological analyses of the prevailing finance/economic focus on investment, economic growth, risk and carbon emissions in understandings of BRICS

Abstracts should include a title, contact details of the author(s) (name, postal address, email) and a summary of no more than 300 words. Please submit abstracts to the organisers ( no later than 1 September 2010.The workshop will be held at Lancaster University on 12 November 2010 from 11am to 5.30pm.


The day costs £40 for staff/waged and £10.00 student/unwagedwhich includes refreshments throughout the day and a buffet supper after the workshop. Places are limited so please book early to avoid disappointment. Closing date for registration 25 October 2010.


Where To Stay in Lancaster- or our campus guestrooms. Most of our guestrooms are en-suite. As well as private WC/bathing facilities, each has access to a fully equipped kitchen, shared with up to three other residents. The nightly rate is £26.40 (single) excl. VAT. Please email or phone 01524 592899.


Cancellations received before 25 October 2010 will be issued a full refund minus an administration charge of £5. Cancellation requests received on and after 25 October will be at the discretion of the organisers and will be subject to a minimum administration charge of £5.

Please let us know if you would like to present a paper or just attend.

If required, a range of overnight accommodation is available at own cost on campus and in Lancaster.

Please contact Pennie Drinkall for any queries (


Who can attend: Anyone


Further information

Associated staff: Thomas Birtchnell (Sociology), David Tyfield (Sociology), John Urry (Sociology)

Associated projects: UK-China Networks of Low Carbon Innovation

Organising departments and research centres: Centre for Mobilities Research (CeMoRe), Economics, Geography, Lancaster Environment Centre, History, Politics and International Relations, Sociology

Keywords: Geographical information systems, Global governance, Globalisation, Globalisation & mobility, Mobilities, Politics, Transnational and mobile criminality, Transnationalisation