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Mobility, concepts and values

La mobilité : concepts et valeurs

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Published on Thursday, March 20, 2014 by Rémi Boivin


Ce colloque interdisciplinaire a un double objectif : contribuer à la clarification du concept de mobilité et au débat concernant la valeur qu’on lui accorde. Il invite les chercheur(e)s travaillant sur des objets différents (mobilité résidentielle, accessibilité et transports, migrations, nomadisme etc.) à clarifier et à comparer leurs définitions de la mobilité, tout en explicitant les jugements de valeur différents qui sous-tendent l’usage du concept. Ce faisant, il constituera une première étape de travail vers la construction d’une éthique de la mobilité informée par les sciences sociales.



Most often, descriptive studies about spatial mobility rest on evaluative assumptions. For instance, the recent “mobility turn” in social theory (Urry, 2000) frequently claims that mobility is underlying every social practice, but also that is vital (Creswell, 2006; Adey, 2010). Likewise, studies about how poverty, disability, gender and citizenship affect people’s mobility implicitly assume that unequal mobility is unjust and should be redressed. So, what is mobility and what makes it so vital and important?

This conference’s aim is twofold: to make explicit the value judgments underlying descriptive studies about people’s mobility and to further clarify the concept of mobility. While considerable work has been done in mobility studies through concepts such as fluidity, accessibility and motility (Kaufmann, 2002), the meaning of mobility still varies according to disciplinary fields, authors and social practices considered. More surprisingly, ethics and theories of justice remain largely unaffected by the “mobility turn” (with some exception e.g. Bergmann & Sager, 2008). Occasionally, mobility has been recognized as a basic capability relevant to disability and gender justice (Nussbaum 2000; Robeyns, 2003; Kronlid, 2008); sometimes, freedom of movement is mentioned as a basic right (Shue, 1980), a primary good (Rawls, 1995), or even as a synonym for freedom (Hobbes, 1651; Carter, 1999). But no work has been devoted so far to analyzing the concept of mobility and the problems of justice it raises.

This interdisciplinary conference invites researchers working on various topics (residential mobility, accessibility and transportation, migrations, tourism, nomadism, etc.) to formulate and compare their definitions of mobility, and to explain the values underlying their use of the concept. This conference aims to take a step towards an ethics of mobility informed by social sciences.


  • 12 Rue de l'Ecole de Médecine
    Paris, France (75006)


  • Thursday, March 20, 2014
  • Friday, March 21, 2014


  • mobilité, migrations, espaces


  • Mobilité 2014
    courriel : mobilite2014 [at] gmail [dot] com

Information source

  • Mobilité 2014
    courriel : mobilite2014 [at] gmail [dot] com

To cite this announcement

« Mobility, concepts and values », Conference, symposium, Calenda, Published on Thursday, March 20, 2014, https://calenda.org/281021

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