The 2012 Annual Meeting of the Association of American Geographers
New York, New York
February 24-28, 2012
Open Session Proposal in Mobilities Research organized by Mimi Sheller (Drexel University), Malene Freudendal-Pedersen (Roskilde University), Sven Kesselring (Technische Universität München) and Ole B. Jensen (Aalborg University).
Mobilities research touches upon crucial social and political imaginaries concerning the challenges and issues related to environmental problems, climate change, sustainability, social exclusion and new societal configurations of mobility as we face the planetary limits of growth (e.g. Dennis & Urry 2009, Urry 2011). In this session we want to bring to the forefront elements of radical thinking and imaginative envisioning that from time to time surface through utopian and dystopian speculation about the future. Whether in literary, social scientific, architectural, cinematic or other genres of spatial representation, the session aims to open up the interesting tensions in these visions of the future of mobility, both realized and virtual.
While the more utopian outlook emphasizes innovative and unprecedented solutions to future mobilities, many 20th and 21st century future visions of mobility may be argued to carry dystopian dimensions such as the end of capitalism as we know it or the collapse of urbanism (e.g., Lefebvre 1973/1976; Graham 2010). The session will focus on how to connect earlier utopian ideas related to technology and design (e.g. Buckminster Fuller, Archigram, LeCorbusier, Bauhaus, etc.) to the contemporary practices and discussions about ‘alternative mobilities’ (e.g. off-the-grid living, Transition Towns, local/slow movements, etc.) and connect these to imaginations of future mobile utopias and dystopias (e.g. post-carbon mobilities, zero-emission mobilities, low-energy futures, cybermobilities, etc.). The session aims to connect research within geographies of mobilities with projects of utopian and dystopian thinking that have often inspired actual designs and practices. It shall explore the creative potentials in a cross-fertilization of these fields of thought.
Dennis, K. & J. Urry (2009) After the Car, Cambridge: Polity Press
Graham, S. (2010) Cities Under Siege: The New Military Urbanism, London: Verso
Lefebvre, H. (1973/1976) The survival of capitalism, London: Allison & Busby
Urry, J. (2011) Climate Change and Society, Cambridge: Polity Press
Please submit abstracts no longer than 250 words, along with a brief bio and contact information, to the session co-organizer: firstname.lastname@example.org by August 30th, 2011. Those selected for the panel will then be asked to register for the meeting and submit their abstract on-line at: http://www.aag.org. A copy of the abstract, along with your personal identification number (assigned by the AAG), should then be forwarded to the session organizer(s) no later than September 21, 2011 (The AAG Deadline is September 28th).