Geographies of mobility

Mei Po Kwan, Tim Schwanen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This introductory piece sets the context for the special issue and explains its rationale. It offers a series of reflections on the rise of the mobilities turn and its relations with preexisting research traditions, most notably transportation geography. Rather than placing different approaches in opposition and favoring one over others, we contend that all need to be seen as situated, partial, and also generative modes of abstraction. Each of these approaches makes mobility exist in specific and ultimately simplified and selective ways. In addition, we argue that geography as a pluralistic discipline will benefit from further conversations between modes of conceptualizing, theorizing, and examining mobility. We outline five lines along which such conversations can be structured: conceptualizations and analysis, inequality, politics, decentering and decolonization, and qualifying abstraction. The article concludes with discussion on three fruitful directions for future research on mobility.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)243-256
Number of pages14
JournalAnnals of the American Association of Geographers
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2016


  • Decentering
  • Inequality
  • Mobility
  • Mode of abstraction
  • Politics
  • Transport

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Earth-Surface Processes


Dive into the research topics of 'Geographies of mobility'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this