New Website

Thank you Readers and Followers!

After more than 52,000 views over the last four years for our blog here at mCenterDrexel we are finally moving onto the Drexel University server. All future news, events and announcements about the Center for Mobilities Research and Policy will now be hosted at our official site:

http://www.drexel.edu/mobilities/

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We invite you to look for us there, and to continue to follow us on Facebook and Twitter where we will still be spreading the word.

 

Video

Mobility Channel: Car Culture

Taking on America’s car culture

Mimi Sheller, Sociologist and Director of the Center for Mobilities Research and Policy at Drexel University discusses automobility and the transition away from car culture in the United States. Driving in private cars is deeply embedded in American culture, so how can a population’s mobility become less dependent on its gas-guzzling habits? Mimi Sheller surveys new initiatives on the Mobility Channel of the Mobile Lives Forum.

Check out our new Drexel course SOC312-002 Mobility Systems

T R 3:30-4:50 pm, Fall Term, Instructor: Mimi Sheller

Are we approaching the end of “car culture” in the United States? This course introduces the interdisciplinary field of mobilities research as a new way to understand the current process of transition from the 20th-century system of fossil-fuel dependent automobility, highways, and suburbanization towards an emerging system of alternative fuels, mixed transport modes, new kinds of vehicle sharing and innovation in infrastructures and mobility systems. It also asks how new forms of mobile communication and “smart” connectivity are changing the way we interact with other people, with information, and with places while moving.

To cite this video:

Mimi Sheller (2013, 24th of June), « Taking on America’s car culture », Mobile Lives Forum. Connnexion on 31st of July 2013, URL: http://en.forumviesmobiles.org/video/2013/06/24/taking-americas-car-culture-955

Mobility Systems

NEW COURSE

SOC312-002: Mobility Systems

Topics in the Sociology of Science and Technology

Professor Mimi Sheller

Fall term, 2013, T R 3:30 – 4:50 pm MacAlister 4011

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Are we approaching the end of “car culture” in the United States? This course introduces the interdisciplinary field of mobilities research as a new way to understand the current process of transition from the 20th-century system of fossil-fuel dependent automobility, highways, and suburbanization towards an emerging system of alternative fuels, mixed transport modes, new kinds of vehicle sharing and innovation in infrastructures and mobility systems. It also asks how new forms of mobile communication and “smart” connectivity are changing the way we interact with other people, with information, and with places while moving.

 

Peak Driving

The End of Car Culture

Have we reached Peak Driving?

Mimi Sheller, Director of the mCenter@Drexel, is quoted in a New York Times Sunday Review article by Elisabeth Rosenthal on the end of car culture. Rosenthal asks whether we are reaching the end of 20th century car culture, with growing evidence that the U.S. reached “peak driving” and is now in a downturn.

Carl Iwasaki/Time & Life Pictures — Getty Images

Carl Iwasaki/Time & Life Pictures — Getty Images

Here is an excerpt:

“Different things are converging which suggest that we are witnessing a long-term cultural shift,” said Mimi Sheller, a sociology professor at Drexel University and director of its Mobilities Research and Policy Center. She cites various factors: the Internet makes telecommuting possible and allows people to feel more connected without driving to meet friends. The renewal of center cities has made the suburbs less appealing and has drawn empty nesters back in. Likewise the rise in cellphones and car-pooling apps has facilitated more flexible commuting arrangements, including the evolution of shared van services for getting to work.

With all these changes, people who stopped car commuting as a result of the recession may find less reason to resume the habit.

On top of that, city, state and federal policies that for more than half a century encouraged suburbanization and car use — from mortgage lending to road building — are gradually being diluted or reversed. “They created what I call a culture of ‘automobility,’ and arguably in the last 5 to 10 years that is dying out,” Ms. Sheller said.”

Read more here.

From Elisabeth Rosenthal, “The End of Car Culture”, the New York Times, Sunday Review. http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/30/sunday-review/the-end-of-car-culture.html? A version of this news analysis appeared in print on June 30, 2013, on page SR3 of the New York edition with the headline: The End of Car Culture.

Border Work

Militarizing the US-Mexico Border

Border Wall

U.S-Mexico Border Wall

The U.S. Senate Immigration Bill calls for $40 billion in spending to build 700 miles of fencing, double the number of border agents to 40,000, and expand surveillance technologies such as drones and thermal imaging cameras on the U.S.-Mexico border. Many critics believe this will simply fund the security industry, while driving people to death in the desert, rather than simply enforcing existing employment laws and the overstay of visitor visas.

Read more about the history of such security schemes in Tamara Vukov & Mimi Sheller’s new article “Border work: surveillant assemblages, virtual fences, and tactical counter-media”, Social Semiotics, Vol. 23, Issue 2, 2013, Special Issue: Charting, Tracking, and Mapping.

The first 50 downloads are free here: http://www.tandfonline.com/eprint/F4aEwEwx3upZxfssrXqw/full

Abstract

The new technologies of bio-informatic border security and remote surveillance that have emerged as key infrastructures of reconfigured mobility regimes depend on various kinds of labor to produce the effect of bordering. The current retrofitting and technological remediation of borders suggests their transformation away from static demarcators of hard territorial boundaries toward much more sophisticated, flexible, and mobile devices of tracking, filtration, and exclusion. Borders require the labor of software developers, designers, engineers, infrastructure builders, border guards, systems experts, and many others who produce the “smart border”; but they also depend on the labor of “data-ready” travelers who produce themselves at the border, as well as the underground labor of those who traffic in informal and illegalized economies across such borders. Bordering increasingly relies on technological forms of mediation that are embedded within hi-tech, military and private corporate logics, but are also resisted by electronic and physical “hacks” or bypassing of informational and infrastructural architectures. In this paper we consider three socio-technological assemblages of the border, and the labor which makes and unmakes them: (1) the interlocking “cyber-mobilities” of contemporary airports including visual technologies for baggage, cargo, and passenger inspection, as well as information technologies for passenger dataveillance, air traffic control, and human resource systems; (2) the development of the Schengen Information System database of the EU, and its implications for wider migrant rights and internal mobility within the EU, as well as radical border media that have attempted to intervene in that border space; and (3) elements of the US–Mexico “smart border” regime known as the Secure Border Initiative Network (2006–2011), and those who have tried to tactically evade, disrupt, or undermine the working of this border.

Aluminum Dreams Video Summary

The Aluminum Dreams that Lost Their Shine

Broadcasting on the Mobility Channel of the Mobile Lives Forum

mCenter Director Mimi Sheller discusses her forthcoming book Aluminum Dreams: Lightness, Speed, Modernity (MIT Press, 2014)

For more information please contact mimi.sheller@drexel.edu

* please note that the European pronunciation of “aluminium” has been used throughout for a global audience

 

Differential Mobilities Begins Today

DifferentialMobs

May 8-11, 2013 at Concordia University, Montreal

More info at http://mobilities.ca/pamnet-4/about/

From May 8-11, 2013 the Mobile Media Lab in the Communication Studies department of Concordia University in Montreal will be hosting Differential Mobilities: Movement and Mediation in Networked Societies. This international conference is sponsored by the Pan-American Mobilities Network, in association with the European Cosmobilities Network. The conference will be held in collaboration with the 4th annual meeting of the Pan-American Mobilities Network.  Previous conferences have been held at:  Royal Roads University, Victoria B.C (2010);  Drexel University, Philadelphia PA (2011) ; and North Carolina State University, Raleigh-Durham NC (2012).

The conference is an opportunity for scholars, artists, activists, and policy makers to engage in a lively exchange of  ideas in an interdisciplinary context, taking the term “mobilities” as a fulcrum. Mobilities has become an important framework for understanding and analyzing contemporary social, spatial, economic and political practices. Mobilities research is interdisciplinary, focusing on the systematic movement of people, goods and information that “travel” around the world at speeds that are greater than before, creating distinct patterns, flows– and blockages. Mobilities research contributes to the study of these technological, social and cultural developments from a critical perspective.

Follow Us On Social Media

You can follow the conference on social media at these locations:
o   Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/mmlMTL
o   Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/mmlMTL
o   Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/mmlMTL

Hashtag #mobilities13 in all your related posts.

We invite you to download our Guidebook Mobile Device App in order to view and manage the schedule remotely. You’ll be able to plan your day with a personalized schedule and browse exhibitors, maps and general show info. The app is compatible with iPhones, iPads, iPod Touches and Android devices. Windows Phone 7 and Blackberry users can access the same information via our mobile site at m.guidebook.com

To get the guide, choose one of the methods below:

  • Download ‘Guidebook’ from the Apple App Store or the Android Marketplace
  • Visit http://guidebook.com/getit from your phone’s browser

Organizing Committee:

  • Kim Sawchuk (Concordia University, Québec)
  • Jim Conley (Trent University, Canada)
  • Owen Chapman (Concordia University, Québec)
  • Adriana de Souza e Silva (NC State University, USA)
  • Paola Jirón Martinez (University of Chile, Chile)
  • Mimi Sheller (Drexel University, USA)
  • Phillip Vannini (Royal Roads University, Canada)

The Pan-American Mobilities Network is a scholarly and professional network dedicated to the study of mobilities in South, Central, and North America. The Pan-American Mobilities Network gathers individuals and groups interested in developing more knowledge about mobilities on–or intersecting with–these continents and keen on building collegial relationships. Membership is free and a web-site for the organization is in process.

The Cosmobilities Network connects European scientists working in the field of mobility research. As an interdisciplinary network it represents state of the art research on different aspects of social, physical, cultural and virtual mobilities. It fosters mobility research as a key discipline investigating the modernization of European societies under the conditions of globalization and global complexity.

Conference Chair:  Kim Sawchuk (Concordia University, Québec)

For further information, contact: Ben Spencer, Administrative Coordinator, Mobile Media Labmmcconcordia@gmail.com