The study of mobility in Brazil remains a diverse field of inquiry, with (as yet) no unified research agenda. This article reviews recent scholarship, principally by Portuguese-speaking Brazilian academics, between 2010 and 2013. A broad range of topics exists, from urban planning, infrastructure, bicycling, walking, migration, and tourism (including for sex, for cosmetic surgery, and for slum visits). The article suggests that the range and work of current academics publishing in English-language journals is encouraging; however, steps still need to be taken to break down remaining language barriers between Portuguese and English scholarship.
Mobility is not just a theme running throughout Caribbean history, but describes a conceptual approach and theoretical framework for better understanding the region. This review seeks to situate the history of Caribbean tourism in relation to a wider field of mobility studies in the region and highlights recent research in this area.
Gijs Mom and Pet Norton
With the publication of this yearbook, we celebrate two jubilees: the yearbook itself appears in its fifth edition, enabled by an association just entering its third lustrum. Where do we stand in 2013, as a community of scholars and other persons interested in the study of mobility? How did we, as a community, evolve? What developments did we experience during the past ten years to reach our current standpoint?
European Travel Writers and the Making of a Genre—Comment
Steven D. Spalding
This comment on the special section “On Travel Writing and Knowledge Transfer: Itinerant Knowledge Production in European Travel Writing” examines the section’s contributions in terms of the project called for in the section’s introduction. What new kinds of knowledge are produced in the context of the ever-increasing mobility of European travelers from the sixteenth century forward? What are the discursive conditions within which knowledge is constructed in and through travel narratives—including discourses of selves and others, of cultures and nations? How does mobility shape knowledge production, as narratives of journeys across the oceans develop into a full-blown genre with ever-greater stakes for travelers, readers, and nations? The four case studies in the special section offer insightful snapshots from the history of European travel writing—with a special emphasis on German authors—that resonate with major themes from travel writing studies and critical studies more generally, from Romanticism to the colonialist or imperial gaze.
Michael D. Pante
A paradigm shift has occurred in the historiography of mobility in the Philippines and Southeast Asia in the past decade. Many of the recent works deal with social history, such as accounts of transport workers and analyses of colonial modernity, and thus reveal the influence of the broader historiographical revolution that began in the 1970s. Slowly but surely, the history of mobility is carving out a discursive space for itself within the wider area of mobility studies, which, in the Philippines, has heretofore focused only on planning and policy.
Dhan Zunino Singh, Tomás Errázuriz, Rodrigo Booth and Melina Piglia
For more than a decade a group of scholars has tried to reconstruct and analyze the history of mobilities in Latin America. Meetings such as the T2M annual conference and rich collaborative projects and publications have fostered a common approach to this work, a method built upon theoretical and methodological approaches as much as a common “sensibility” toward mobilities. Without being fully aware of his position, Guillermo Giucci has been an invaluable member of this group. Although distance and other circumstances have prevented his direct participation in the meetings mentioned above, his work has nonetheless traversed the region, capturing the attention of fellow mobility scholars and becoming an essential reference for most ongoing work. Giucci’s influential position stems from his willingness to study subjects that few of his colleagues have grappled with and to break with the typical isolation and lack of comparative research found in Latin American mobility history.
Aurélien Delpirou and Hadrien Dubucs
What has geography contributed to the new paradigm of mobilities research? This question may appear out of place insofar as mobility has always been a subfield of human geography. In history or sociology (for example), mobilities research was an innovation—but as Tim Creswell and Peter Merriman noted with wit, geographers have returned to mobility as if they were ‘revisiting an old friend’.
Michael F. Wagner
Automobilism—the culture of individual mobility based on private transportation—is promoted by leisure, consumption, the construction of infrastructure, and the provision of service by auto clubs. It promises to carry the driver away on a voyage of discovery with narratives of adventurousness and dreams of the good life on the road. It was from the outset an international movement with national repercussions and variations on a theme. Basically, however, the rise of European automobile culture accompanied the rise of consumption for leisure, which in turn evolved into a consumption regime of mediation and consumption junctions based on individual mobility and tourism.
Refugees, Migrants, and Tourists in Dharamshala (India)
This case study of Dharamshala (India), a community that emerged as an outcome of mobility just a few decades ago and is constantly fueled by refugees, migrants, and tourists, aims to challenge the conceptual boundary between a receiving society and mobile Others, and to pose questions about community making in the context of postcolonial mobility. The history of Dharamshala reflects both the legacy of colonialism and the modern processes of mobility in postcolonial Asia. The town’s highly fluid and heterogeneous community consists of people of different nationalities, ethnicities, religions, and castes from Tibet, Nepal, the Global North, and various Indian states. Most are seasonal migrants attracted by the success of Tibetans in turning this in fact refugee settlement into a popular tourist destination, while some have already settled there. Communities embedded in mobility—for which mobility is an everyday lived experience—reshape our thinking about adaptation processes and social coexistence.
Adding to discussion started by Gijs Mom and Peter Merriman in Yearbook 6, this text is a plea for scholars to claim a role in the politicization of mobility. Globalization is profoundly upsetting previous mobility practices and raising important questions about democratic, equitable access to mobility. This essay argues that a historic understanding of mobility can shed light onto how representations of different users and modes of transportation affect current political debates. Historical readings remind citizens to be wary of seductive, novel, and high-tech mobility solutions—concepts that have persisted, in a variety of forms, for centuries. Today's “smart mobility” and sustainable development, for all their promise, must be compared to historic trends and weighed against today's low-tech modes of travel that persist in the face of modernity.