Rethinking Children's Independent Mobility

Revealing Cultures of Children's Agentic and Imaginative Mobilities through Emil and the Detectives

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The concept of “children's independent mobility,” which originates in a study carried out between 1971 and 1990, underpins much of the research on children's mobilities. The study used particular criteria, based on parental determination of children's abilities and freedoms, to construct a notion of independence. This article contributes to previous work challenging the assumptions underlying this conceptualization of independence and suggests a rethinking of children's mobilities to more firmly incorporate children's agency and imagination. It does so first by critically reviewing existing scholarship and second by engaging with an example of a fictional story, Emil and the Detectives, which itself sets out to privilege both of these key aspects of children's mobilities.

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Interdisciplinary Journal of Mobility Studies