Mobilizing Disability Studies

A Critical Perspective

in Transfers
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  • 1 Independent researcher, Australia


Despite how the fields of mobility and disability studies have vastly contributed to our understanding of our lifeworld, the two, however, share asymmetric acknowledgement of each other. Mobility recurs as an aspiration for those with a disability yet disability tends to be ignored or inadequately dealt with in mobility studies. This article seeks to achieve two main objectives: first, to discuss how and what the journal has achieved over the years; and, second, to highlight that the denial of mobility is a negation of what it means to be human. Overall, the article seeks to deploy a critical intervention required for mobility studies to return the gesture to disability studies in equal magnitude. By situating the discussion within the context of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic in Australia, this article argues that at the interface of mobility and disability lies a politics of possibility for people with disabilities in their struggles for equal access and full citizenship.

This article seeks to address the disconnection that exists between the fields of mobility and disability studies, and to open up critical conversations about why there is need to create more opportunities for more robust engagement between the two fields.1 The article stems from the observation that while both fields have vastly contributed to our understanding of our lifeworld, there still remains, however, an asymmetric acknowledgement of each other. Mobility recurs as an aspiration for those with a disability, yet disability tends to be ignored or inadequately dealt with in mobility studies. This article suggests that one way to address this asymmetry is for mobility theorists to do more to give prominence to and acknowledge the experiences of people with disabilities. In other words, mobility studies should attune itself to the different ways it can mobilize disability studies.

The metaphor of mobilizing disability studies should be understood as a demonstration of how disability studies need to be revived. As a conceptual tool, the notion of “mobilization” seeks to offer insights into how a theoretical framework can expand by adopting a nomadic process of enablement; to reform and renew a theory in order to bring about more nuanced perspectives about its subject matter. Hence mobilization is the conscious attempt to overcome the limitations of theoretical sedentarism—whereby a theoretical perspective or its conceptual resources lacks potency or becomes less productive and is limited to generate and offer new understandings. If mobilization is an act of enablement, then sedentarism points to disablement. This article will argue that mobility studies has a significant role to play in the development of conceptual resources to make it perform nomadic practices. As I will show below, disability studies has carved its own niche by adopting a critical approach. However, this critical niche requires a field like mobility studies in order to sustain a sharper outlook.

Proponents of critical disability studies urge the need to articulate more sophisticated and nuanced perspectives on disability through a multidisciplinary approach that builds upon actual lived experiences of people with disability. The assignment of the notion of “critical” serves to highlight at least two points. First, it is critical insofar as its perspectives are embedded in epistemological and ontological frameworks that highlight disability studies as not only an analytical field that develops its own conceptual categories and theoretical frameworks. Like other critical theories drawing from the Frankfurt School and postmodernism, critical disability studies emphasizes how experiences of exclusion for people with disability are socially constructed.2 Second, disability studies needs a critical approach in order to emerge from the limitations of disciplinary biases and proclivities. This opens the field to different perspectives that enable us to better understand the actual experiences of people with disability and to take the field more seriously. By incorporating the vision of the critical theory of the Frankfurt School, critical disability studies presents an emancipatory politics that brings optimism and an array of possibilities of freedom for people with disability. One of the proponents of the school, Max Horkheimer, conceives human emancipation as the act “to liberate human beings from the circumstances that enslave them.”3 Taking its inspiration from this conception, critical disability studies recognizes its situatedness to exercise vigilance and monitoring of what lies at its borders and to call out the forms of exclusion that operate within.

In 1990, Michael Oliver, a sociologist who lived with a disability, recounted how his “own experience of marginalisation [had] been more from the sociological community than from society at large,” and he thought that one way to counter this was for people with disability to write “their own histories” in order for them to “have an adequate framework in which to locate our present discussions.”4 Oliver's sentiments are still relevant today. Critical disability studies should be seen among others as an activist approach that aims to deconstruct the conventional assumptions that have shaped our understanding and interventions or lack thereof of the experiences of those living with disability. As Brett Smith and Andrea Bundon argue, critical disability theory starts with disability but never ends with it as it is “the space from which to think through a host of political, theoretical and practical issues that are relevant to all.”5 From the foregoing, it can be said that critical disability theorists take an activist approach in their aversion to the academic confinements that limit the production of emancipatory discourses. In this way, critical disability studies involves direct engagement with experiences of disability and impairments and their imbrication in relations of power.6 That power relations are pervasive in the experiences of disability points to how context defines disability: an environment that is unresponsive and maladaptive to the needs and aspirations of people with disability is disabling. As such, disability is tied to the socio-cultural, political, and economic environments that set up and sustain the different barriers that result in discrimination and exclusion. This is what is called “disablement”—a term that has nothing to do with the body or mind of the person but rather a pointer to how disability is socially constructed.7

The preceding paragraphs have managed to provide the intellectual milieu in which the discourses of disability are situated, and specifically to highlight how disability studies require theoretical frameworks to provide it with a critical edge to articulate the issues that are core to it and provide articulacy and advocacy to people with disability. Metaphorically, disability studies becomes stagnant if it cannot play this activist role; it must be mobilized in order to attain a more critical edge. As will be argued below, disability studies requires mobility in order to adopt new trajectories. The section that follows seeks to throw into sharp relief the work Transfers has done to redefine and set new trajectories of the discourses of mobility. This will pave the way for a discussion of what more the journal can do to assist in mobilizing disability studies.

The Roots and Routes of Transfers

Transfers has witnessed exponential growth from its inception ten years ago. As a scholarly or intellectual journal, Transfers traces its roots or beginnings to what Mimi Sheller and John Urry term a “new mobilities paradigm”8—a theoretical project that takes aim at how social science has been static in its research and theorization of our lifeworld. The editorial sought to adopt a new thrust that would take a new approach to the subject of mobility: “to foster a new realm of academic inquiry, publishing the most cutting-edge work on mobility from a multitude of disciplinary and local perspectives.”9 From its nascent beginnings, the journal's ambition was couched in terms of carving a unique niche that would set the journal apart by articulating the experiences of mobilities in ways that capture their multiple and diverse processes.

The editorial article of the Transfers’ Spring 2011 inaugural issue appropriated Edouard Manet's The Railway painting to critically reflect and depict the distinct approach of the journal to the topic of mobility. The painting captures a glimpse of a young woman and a girl: both immaculately dressed, the woman directly peering at the viewer and clutching an open book with both hands while a small dog is lying on her lap; the young girl, with her back to the viewer, stands gazing through the black iron fence. What makes the fence more conspicuous is the billowing cloud of smoke from a train that has already passed. Both are standing in proximity to, yet seemingly detached from, each other. They seem estranged because they face different directions and pursue separate pastimes. With the fence separating them from the rail track beyond, the woman and girl also appear to be estranged from the viewer and the train just gone. For the editors, the painting depicts the ambiguities the journal seeks to address. The subjects in the portraiture—the women reading a book and her intent and contemplative posture; the girl gazing through the clouds of steam while her back is turned from the viewer; the cloud of steam covering the background—are all provocative insofar as they proffer the multiple approaches to mobility. The editor asks:

are we to get a better grip on mobility through our sources, through reading, and contemplating them (our back towards the world of mobility, ourselves sitting still), or should we try to gaze through the clouds of steam surrounding the artifacts themselves (as a novice, in the white dress of innocence)? Should we delve into history or observe current movement?10

This is the editorial piece that formed the trajectory Transfers would take in its first decade. In other words, it can be said that the editorial defined the route that the journal has taken in its first decade.

The journal's aim is to articulate the experiences of mobilities in ways that capture their multiple and diverse processes. Later along the journal's life path, Mimi Sheller's and Gijs Mom's editorial for the Summer 2017 issue describes Transfers as aiming to critically rethink the concept of mobility by emphasizing the three elements of conceptual diversity, multidisciplinary approaches, and geographical breadth.11 This aim falls in line with what Cotten Seiler had lauded Transfers for: its adoption of “versatility” as an approach to mobility and its intention to avoid being “an organ of disciplinary formation or perspectival unity.”12 The overall aim of the new mobility studies is to initiate innovative scholarship that propels us to move “toward alternative mobility futures.”13 Anchoring the journal on alternative, versatile, and diverse approaches is itself instructive as it captures the essence of the notion of “transfers” whose meaning suggests a complex set of spatio-temporal processes and practices that defy fixity and stability, and embrace relations of fluidity and constant flux. Sheller and Mom capture this fluidity in their description of the journal name Transfers—a name that invokes questions about how, what, and between whom are things “crossed over” and how, in that process, the things are changed; and also how the contexts are changed by what moves in them.14 In this way, the concept of transfers denotes multiplicity, that is, how an entity has different prisms and how the prisms have variations and manifold dimensions.

To say an entity is and can be connected with other entities in explicit and implicit ways entails that a search for any fixed and static meaning is an exercise in futility. Concepts, like entities they name, are highly mobile. The notion of transfers, including the processes of mobility that are attendant to it, should be understood in terms of what Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari call an “assemblage.”15 This understanding establishes how the notion of transfers forms inherent connections with other concepts and processes. Like a rhizome that mutates into multiplicities, the concept transfers “ceaselessly establishes connections”16 with other entities and processes and brings new meanings, and thus produces recognizable effects. Hence understanding the concept of transfers as an assemblage is critical in deciphering what Sheller and Mom describe as “conceptual transformations”17 or the ways concepts change in different contexts.

Following Deleuze and Guatarri, an assemblage, like a rhizome that randomly proliferates in multiple directions and connects at different points, has multiple lines—lines holding the entity together; lines that enable the assemblage to self-reproduce and/or to subsist; and lines of flight that extend beyond the assemblage by stretching out or escaping the structure to form or connect the assemblage with what is beyond itself.18 A line of flight instantiates the miniscule possibility of escape, whereby concepts and processes are evanescent processes of becoming. As Peter Merriman argues, conceptualizing movements through a series of “lines of flight” enables mobility scholars to decipher geographies of mobility beyond binary conceptions of movement/stasis, allowing them to see mobility where it is rendered imperceptible and ensuring that any politics of mobility must incorporate different senses of movement, translation, displacement, and mobile relations.19

The notion “rhizomatic formation of assemblages” enables us to map connections between concepts or fields of study and to identify the processes and practices that characterize and sustain them. Recognizing that lines of flight link different assemblages helps to establish links between seemingly disparate fields of study and to disrupt normalized ideas and practices. In this sense, a line of flight is at best a fleeting mutation and boundary crossing that enables discourses and practices to be conceived anew, thus providing analytic tools to construct more progressive theoretical frameworks to throw new insights and explain complex phenomena. In light of this, the success of the new mobilities paradigm in reinventing social theory can be transposed to the ongoing debate about how the new mobility studies in general, and Transfers in particular, can mobilize disability studies. While the privilege to be a contributing author and occasional reviewer of the journal has provided me with an opportunity to have a closer and better understanding of how the different dimensions of mobile experiences have been conceptualized and articulated, the asymmetrical relationship that continues to exist between mobility studies and disability studies is striking.

As pointed out at the start, for most disability theorists, both mobility and mobilization (that is, the actual movement of physical bodies in space and over time and the capacity to develop conceptual resources and frameworks and allow them to be applied, respectively) remain central. Mobility remains an aspiration for disability theorists. Advocates for improved accessibility and livability for people with disability insist on how the built environment should reflect inclusivity through careful planning and design of space. This covers how houses, suburbs, transport systems, access roads, and other social amenities are designed to be accessible, livable, and non-discriminatory. Hence the success of Transfers in articulating a new mobilities paradigms has to be measured by the ways it provides a platform for authors across disciplines to explore new research questions and offer new perspectives on how mobility can widen its scope in order to return its gaze back to disability studies and reciprocate how disability is in constant quest for mobility. By advancing the new mobilities paradigm's ethos of shifting mobilities from the constraints of research disciplines, Transfers has an opportunity to mobilize disability studies by listening to the experiences of people with disabilities and providing more nuanced analysis of how these experiences can be articulated through the new mobilities paradigm. Given how the new mobilities paradigm has challenged the “disciplinary containers” and how this challenge has allowed experts and researchers from across disciplines “to move with each other in new assemblages and assemblies,”20 there is a strong temptation to ask: what are the prospects of employing a new mobilities paradigm's multidisciplinary approach in the quest for disability studies to be mobilized?

I will answer this question by turning my attention to the Australian context and specifically focus on a set of events and circumstances that occurred in the city of Melbourne in the midst of the global COVID-19 pandemic. The reason for the choice of this context is that it provides a poignant demonstration of the issue at stake: that the strategies to address the pandemic, especially lockdowns and restrictions to mobility, produce effects that can robustly inform about the daily experiences of people with disabilities. It is expected that by recasting our attention to this context, we are able to tease out some of the issues that animate the mobility/disability duo. It is expected that an analysis of how the mobility perspective can be of use to disability scholars and activists will provide a more informed understanding of the experiences of those living with disability.

When Lives Became Grounded

It was mid-June 2020 in Australia. The state government of Victoria was further easing its COVID-19 restrictions when new reports of increasing numbers of new COVID-19 cases emerged. There were revelations that a subcontracted security company had breached infection control measures at the hotels that quarantined returning travelers, thus resulting in new community transmission. The government intensified its contact tracing. There was also a mandatory testing blitz. The ensuing contact tracing identified hot spots in Melbourne's north and northwest suburbs. On 4 July 2020, the suburbs were put on a full lockdown. Particular focus was on the housing towers in Flemington and North Melbourne, which accommodated over three thousand residents, the majority of whom are individuals and families of low social and economic status. The lockdown was swift as there was not enough notice for residence to make provisions for food and other necessities. Police were deployed to enforce the lockdown, barring residents from leaving except for medical emergency.

The series of events that played out in Melbourne was a microcosm epitomizing governments’ array of responses to the pandemic. Throughout the world, social, economic, political, and cultural facets of life came to “a grinding halt.”21 Newspaper articles chronicled the end of “life as we know it”22 while hailing the advent of the “new normal,” which was depicted as not the life after, but rather the life lived with, COVID-19. The “new normal” approximates Ulrich Beck's “risk society,”23 which transforms the ways we understand ourselves, our social life, our politics and also our economic fundamentals. As a way of managing the risk, the “new normal” is deployed as a call for us to embrace the fact that COVID-19 is here with us; as something that would not easily go away but we should manage. Andrew Penn, the Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director of Telstra, Australia's largest telecommunications company, describes the new normal as already here: it is business but far from usual as the virus “has transformed our ideas about how and where we work and put flexibility, adaptability, and technology at the heart of the workplace.”24 Mimi Sheller captures this when she writes that the encounter with the COVID-19 virus has meant that sociality has moved online with virtual meetings becoming the dominant.25 The thrust toward virtual connections marks a significant shift from “social distancing” to “physical distancing” with emphasis being on how the former is negative as it encourages isolation and has negative consequences for mental health and wellbeing.26 Given how social distancing's potential and detrimental effects on health and well-being, this shift in messaging is informed by the need to emphasize that physical distancing has to be complemented with social connectedness to foster relationships and human connections.27

Besides disrupting the forms of social life and the livelihoods sustained by and within that life, the pandemic has provided an opportunity to rethink how contemporary life needs to be reorganized, thus sharpening the focus on the link between COVID-19 and neoliberalism. For some, neoliberalism has facilitated the conditions for the spread of COVID-19 while also heightening the pandemic's dire consequences; yet for others, however, COVID-19 has not only demonstrably torn apart the integrity of neoliberalism but also brought about or speeded up its demise.28 Hence the World Economic Forum raised the urgent need for global cooperation, with the pandemic being described as an opportunity to start “The Great Reset” on capitalism in order to transition to a more sustainable world that offers a just and fairer future.29

The declaration of the end of neoliberalism and the calls for a reset happens within a context of unprecedented developments that saw the increased vulnerability of those in the low social and economic status and concentrated in overcrowded housing estates. Thus, the correlation between poor housing, low remuneration, limited space for social recreation to enable compliance with social distancing requirements, and employment in labor-intensive occupation with no or limited flexibility to allow work from home all makes “COVID-19 does not discriminate” a mere cliché. The residents of Melbourne towers would find some of the opportunities proffered by advocates of the “new normal” merely wishful thinking as they are inapplicable to their realities. With police enforcing the lockdown and not allowing them to leave even to replenish essential commodities like food, residents felt as if they were being treated like criminals. One would have expected that the residents would rather have been seen as government partners and not detainees.30 Instead, the government's response highlights how the responses to the pandemic entrenched the already prevailing social inequalities and power differentials. As Diego Silva argues, while the risk to public health is acknowledged, and the consideration to take some precautionary measures was justified, it neither meant the government officials could ignore the socio-political realities of the towers nor renege on their responsibilities to uphold the social justice requirements as required in public health.31 The lockdown measures hit harder on those of low social economic status, with stories emerging that some of society's affluent were allowed to leave hotspots on their yachts.32 This confirms Sheller and Urry's argument that mobility and control over mobility both reflect and reinforce power; and citing Beverley Skeggs, they aver that “mobility is a resource to which not everyone has an equal relationship.”33

That the residents on the Melbourne towers are mainly racialized minorities with different levels of proficiency in English and of low socio-economic status may point to how they were treated in the manner described. As argued by Alison Bashford, throughout history, identity markers like race have been instrumental in the technology of quarantine that functioned in the imagining of Australia.34 It can be contented that the Australian governments’ treatment of minorities has raised significant questions about justice and equity. The same can also be said about the aged care sector where the systemic issues within the sector were identified to be behind the lack of preparedness to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, a factor which has been used to point to age discrimination.35 As has been pointed above, the restrictions of residents’ mobility reflects the exercise of power by a dominant group over the vulnerable.

Residents were grounded or immobile, yet had not been consulted nor informed prior to the announcements. If the measures to limit mobility were unfair or unjust for the residents, would placing any restrictions on people with disabilities for whatever reason and in any circumstances be ever justified? This question is important for two primary reasons. First, for disability activists the tale of the immobility of the residents of the Melbourne towers epitomizes the everyday life of people with disability. People with disability are subjected to many forms of mobility restrictions in life, and there is a need to highlight this and proffer ways that can effectively address that. Second, it is common cause that the lockdown measures were unjustified because there was neither consultation nor ample notification given, which was worsened by poor coordination to ensure that residents’ needs were and are adequately cared for. Like the residence at the towers, people with disabilities felt left out. This point requires further elucidation.

The drama at the Melbourne towers unfolded when the Australian Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, and Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability (hereafter, the Disability Commission) was already underway. In April, a statement of concern was released by disability peak bodies and activists that emphasized the vulnerability of people with disability to the adverse measures and effects of COVID-19, and called for the federal government to act to adopt consistent human rights principles and standards to underpin ethical decision-making frameworks to protect the rights of all people with disability during the pandemic.36 Part of the concerns had stemmed from how in the midst of the pandemic, people with disability had lost essential support services, were unable to access health care, became isolated from the community and other networks, and were also exposed to heightened risks of domestic violence. In response, the federal government formed a COVID-19 Response for People with Disability Advisory Committee which also the Disability Commission as a member.

Part of what the Advisory Committee highlighted was disability issues had not been directly addressed in the ensuing response to COVID-19. The initial responses by the government never explicitly mentioned a policy about disability.37 Also, a blanket application of the measures on people with disabilities was counterproductive. For example, the requirement for support and care relied on close face-to-face contact, sometimes from multiple carers, thus making physical distancing or limits on contacts impossible. As such the reconfiguration or refashioning of social life under the condition of the “new normal” requires exceptions as the individual lives and experiences of people have to be considered. For people with disabilities, like the Melbourne towers residents, the touted slogan for the COVID-19 campaign “we are all in this together” sounds far-fetched. This is because, as Gerard Goggin and Kate Ellis argue, the practices, discourses, and shared meanings that have emerged, like the edict “Stay Home. Save Lives,” do not mean anything for people with disabilities because for them staying at home is a default position.38

How Does Mobility Disclose Possibility for Disability?

What happened to Melbourne tower residents is central in highlighting the experiences of being grounded—the denial of the right to exercise mobility through governmental action. The tale of the residents has been used as a window through which we can conceptualize the immobility of people with disability. These two categories of people have been understood as vulnerable. Yet as pointed out by the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), “people with disabilities are not inherently vulnerable; it is attitudinal, environmental and institutional barriers that result in higher levels of vulnerability.”39 Any restrictions to mobility directly impinges on what defines human life. Writing in favor of the integration of people with disability back in the late 1960s, Jacobus tenBroek opened with a declaration that movement “is a law of animal life” and proceeded to argue that “limitations resulting from the disability more often than not play little role in determining whether the physically disabled are allowed to move about and be in public places.”40 By attaching mobility to what it means to be human, tenBroek points out that the legal right of the people with disability to leave the confines of their residences must be extended further. He rhetorically opines:

Once they emerge, must they remain on the front porch, or do they have the right to be in public places, to go about in the streets, sidewalks, roads and highways, to ride upon trains, buses, airplanes, and taxi cabs, and to enter and to receive goods and services in hotels, restaurants, and other places of public accommodation? If so, under what conditions? What are the standards of care and conduct, of risk and liability, to which they are held and to which others are held with respect to them? Are the standards the same for them as for the able-bodied?41

What tenBroek argues above is that mobility is vital for life, and without it we are unable to exercise the “right to live in the world.”42 As such, the immobility of individuals and groups of people points directly to their dehumanization. Therefore, the full exercise of citizenship for people with disability has to be measured against the conditions in which they exercise their mobility; the standards of care and conduct; and also “risk and liability” associated with their right to go out and about. If the precautionary restrictions imposed on the residents of the Melbourne towers in the midst of a pandemic invoked in many the feelings of despondency and outrage, then surely the restrictions imposed on people with disabilities in non-crisis situations should be seen as troubling.

In this article, I have described the core issue as mobilizing disability studies. The issue is what mobility studies can do for disability studies. This question is as essential as the right and ability to exercise mobility; it is central for how people with disabilities assert their rights of citizenship. Mobility and mobilization can be described as nomadic practices; that is, the acts of resisting being stuck in theoretical stasis or sedentarism. The practice of mobilizing disability studies begins when mobility researchers interrogate the im/mobility practices of people with disabilities and explore how these practices both have implications for our understandings of im/mobility and disclose new possibilities for how people with disabilities are included or excluded in their exercise of citizenship. As such, mobility studies provides a politics of possibility for disability studies. Possibility is used here to refer to how a practice or an activity provides us with new ways of understanding that “exceeds what is given to us by our current understandings of ourselves and our current historical understandings.”43

As has been highlighted in the preceding sections, if mobility studies is allowed to utilize its well-honed skills and multidisciplinary approaches to interrogate how the experiences of people with disabilities are either negatively or positively impacted by their environment, it has significant potential to mobilize disability studies. By focusing on what lies at the confluence of mobility and disability, it is possible to further probe how to disclose a politics of possibility for people with disability in their struggle for access and full citizenship.



The author owes gratitude to Georgine Clarsen for her critical and insightful comments and suggestions on an earlier draft.


Helen Meekosha and Russell Shuttleworth, “What's So ‘Critical’ about Critical Disability Studies?” Australian Journal of Human Rights 15, no. 1 (2009): 47–75, here 51,


Max Horkheimer, Critical Theory (New York: Seabury Press, 1982), 244.


Michael Oliver, The Politics of Disablement (London: Macmillan Education Ltd, 1990): x, xi.


Brett Smith and Andrea Bundon, “Disability Models: Explaining and Understanding Disability Sport in Different Ways,” in The Palgrave Handbook of Paralympic Studies, ed. Ian Brittain and Aaron Beacom (London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2018): 15–34, here 27.


Shelley Tremain, “Foucault, Governmentality, and Critical Disability Theory Today: A Genealogy of the Archive,” in Foucault and the Government of Disability, ed. Shelley Tremain (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2015): 9–23.


Bill Hughes and Kevin Paterson, “The Social Model of Disability and the Disappearing Body: Towards a Sociology of Impairment,” Disability & Society 12, no. 3 (1997): 325–340,; See also, Michael Oliver, The Politics of Disablement.


Mimi Sheller and John Urry, “The New Mobilities Paradigm,” Environment and Planning A 38 (2006): 207–226,


Gijs Mom (with Georgine Clarsen, Nanny Kim, Cotten Seiler, Kurt Möser, Dorit Müller, Charissa Terranova, and Rudi Volti), “Editorial,” Transfers 1, no. 1 (2011): 1–13, here 1,


Ibid., 3.


Mimi Sheller and Gijs Mom, “Editorial,” Transfers 7, no. 2 (2017), vii–x, here vii,


Cotten Seiler, “Racing Mobility, Excavating Modernity: A Comment,” Transfers 6, no. 1 (Spring 2016): 98–102, here 102,


Georgine Clarsen, Peter Merriman, and Mimi Sheller, “Vistas of Future New Mobility Studies: Transfers and Transformations,” Transfers 8, no. 1 (2018): 112–117,


Sheller and Mom, “Editorial,” vii.


Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari, A Thousand Plateaus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia, trans. Brian Mussumi, London: Continuum, 2004.


Ibid., p. 7.


Mimi Sheller and Gijs Mom, “Vistas of Future New Mobility Studies: Transfers and Transformations,” vii.


Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari, A Thousand Plateaus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia, 225–228.


Peter Merriman, “Molar and Molecular Mobilities: The Politics of Perceptible and Imperceptible Movements,” Environment and Planning D: Society and Space 37, no. 1 (2019): 65–82, here 77,


Mimi Sheller, “Moving with John Urry,” Theory, Culture and Society, 33, no. 7–8 (2016): 317–322,


Melissa Heagney, “Melbourne Real Estate Sector Could Come to a Grinding Halt under Strict New Rules: Lockdown 2.0,” Domain, 3 August 2020,; Misha Ketchell, “Coronavirus Weekly: As the virus spreads, economies grind to a halt,” The Conversation,” 23 March 2020,; TD Bank Financial Group, “COVID-19 Brings the Longest U.S. Expansion to a Grinding Halt in Q1 of 2020,” Action Forex, 29 April 2020,; Frances D'Emilio and Joseph Wilson, “Coronavirus Brings Daily Life to a Grinding Halt in Much of the World,” The Times of Israel, 16 March 2020,


Bridget Aitchison, “COVID-19 is The End of Life as We Know It but Is That Necessarily a Bad Thing?” The Courier, 1 June 2020,; Steven Pearlstein, “The End of Life as We Know It? Get Real,” The Washington Post, 28 May 2020,; Paul Kelly, “Coronavirus and Its Lethal Politics Chipping Away at Life as We Knew It,” The Australian, 31 August 2020,


Ulrich Beck, Risk Society: Towards a New Modernity (London: Sage Publications, 1992).


Andrew Penn, “The Future of the Workplace Post-COVID-19—The New Normal Isn't Coming, It's Here Now,” Telstra Exchange, 31 August 2020,


Mimi Sheller, “Ten Years of Transfers: Mobility Studies and Social Change during a Pandemic,” this issue.


Sandro Galea, Raina M. Merchant, and Nicole Lurie, “The Mental Health Consequences of COVID-19 and Physical Distancing: The Need for Prevention and Early Intervention,” JAMA Internal Medicine, 180, no. 6, (2020): 817–818,; Megan E. Marziali, Kiffer G. Card, Taylor McLinden, Lu Wang, Jason Trigg, and Robert S. Hogg, “Physical Distancing in COVID-19 May Exacerbate Experiences of Social Isolation among People Living with HIV,” AIDS and Behaviour 24 (2020): 2250–2252,


David Bergman, Christina Bethell, Narangerel Gombojav, Sandra Hassink, and Kurt C. Stange, “Physical Distancing with Social Connectedness,” The Annals of Family Medicine 18, no. 3 (2020): 272–277,


Alfredo Saad-Filho, “From COVID-19 to the End of Neoliberalism,’ Critical Sociology 46, nos. 4–5 (2020): 477–485,; Stephen McCloskey, “COVID-19 Has Exposed Neoliberal-Driven ‘Development’: How Can Development Education Respond?” Policy and Practice: A Development Education Review 30 (2020): 174–185,; Richard Dennis, “The Spread of Coronavirus in Australia Is Not the Fault of Individuals but a Result of Neoliberalism,” The Guardian, (20 August 2020),; Michael A. Peters, “The Disorder of Things: Quarantine Unemployment, the Decline of Neoliberalism, and the Covid-19 Lockdown Crash,” Educational Philosophy and Theory (2020); Riccardo Mastini, “Neoliberalism Is in Critical Condition,” Ecologist: The Journal for the Post-Industrial Age, 10 June 2020,


World Economic Forum, “Now Is the Time to Press the Reset Button on Capitalism,” 29 June 2020,


Melisa Davey, “Melbourne Towers Residents Translated Covid-19 Information Sheet into 10 Different Languages in 24 Hours,” The Guardian, 6 July 2020,


Diego Silva, “COVID-19 in the Public Housing Towers of Melbourne: Upholding Social Justice When Invoking Precaution,” Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health 44, no. 5 (2020): 430,


Candace Sutton, “Magnate Flees Lockdown on Superyacht,” Sunshine Coast Daily, 25 August 2020,


Sheller and Urry, “The New Mobilities Paradigm,” 211.


Alison Bashford, “Quarantine and the Imagining of the Australian Nation,” Health 2 no. 4 (1998): 387–402,


Berth Gaze and Lisa Sarmas, “COVID-19, Age Discrimination and Aged Care,” Pursuit, September 2020,


Disabled People's Organisations Australia, “Statement of Concern—COVID-19: Human Rights, Disability and Ethical Decision-Making,” 14 April 2020,


Ben Gauntlett, “COVID-19: Advancing Rights and Justice during a Pandemic,” 7 May 2020,


Gerard Goggin and Katie Ellis, “Disability, Communication, and Life Itself in the COVID-19 Pandemic,” Health Sociology Review, 29, no. 2 (2020): 168–176, here 168–169,


CRPD Committee, “Statement on COVID-19 and the Human Rights of Persons with Disabilities,” 9 June 2020,


Jacobus tenBroek, “The Right to Live in the World: The Disabled in the Law of Torts,” California Law Review 54 no. 2 (1966): 841–919, here 841–842,


Ibid., 842.




Nikolas Kompridis, Critique and Disclosure: Critical Theory between Past and Future (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2006), 198.

Contributor Notes

Kudzai Matereke holds a PhD in Political Philosophy from the University of New South Wales, Australia. He is an independent researcher based in Australia. His research interests lie at the interface of political theory, citizenship, mobility, and disability. Currently he works as a senior planner for a national disability agency. Email:


Interdisciplinary Journal of Mobility Studies