Topic “Mobility”

Feb 9th, 2009 | By | Category: Mobility, Topics

Mobility is a polarizing subject  that invites social commentary and stimulates political controversy. On one hand it is highly valued by members of  industrialized Western societies who devote considerable social energy  (and  much primary energy) to develop and maintain.  On the other hand the economic and social costs of mobility have come into focus as well as the risks connected with it. Social and physical mobility are overlapping concepts and their interchangability may be confusing  yet it can be rewarding to explore the different strata and facets of this field. Today collective and individual mobility systems need to be critically assessed from different points of view: their impact on society, the way they relate to and structure urban spaces, their power to shape landscapes, their redefinition of time and space, their formatting of desires, emotions or indeed the body itself.  Questions of dealing with the trends and development vectors of mobility have to be addressed.  As the largest socio-technological system (and as some claim the most deadly), individual mobility demands considerable methodological consideration. In past research approaches, identifying  mobility merely with transport proved to be inadequate in the context of the complexity of this subject. An artefact-centered history of technology faces a similar problem even if the individual mobility system is interpreted as an objectification of social developments. If, for instance, the the cultural technique of balancing, required for cycling, flying or canoeing, is to be understood, and its origins explained, a number of different fields of knowledge have to be activated. To understand how phenomena like these are perceived and described, different forms of analysis need to be considered. Thus mobility requires a truly interdisciplinary approach as well as an appropriately wide range of methods. We are convinced that in order to come to terms with this field it is desirable to re-open research, to find new angles of looking at new aspects, to excavate new sources. We are inviting an open discussion and a creative approach to explore the range of mobility in as many aspects as possible.

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KIT Scientific Publishing, Karlsruhe | Journal of New Frontiers in Spatial Concepts | ISSN 1868-6648