Critical Geographies of Mobility Using Digital Data

Call for papers for special sessions at the AAG meeting in Denver, CO, April 6-10.

Organized by Mei-Po Kwan (Chinese University of Hong Kong) and Tim Schwanen, (University of Oxford)

As one of the keywords in Geography (Kwan and Schwanen, 2016), mobility is attracting widespread attention in the discipline with research sprawling in many directions and cutting across epistemic communities. One of the biggest changes in mobility research in recent years has been the emergence and uptake of new digital data about mobility, including the much touted big data assembled from sensors in vehicles, bikes, phones, access gates, payment cards and the like. Such data are increasingly used to understand mobility patterns and urban structures in innovative and productive ways.

We plan to organise one or more paper sessions looking at how the new digital data are used to advance critical analysis of questions of disadvantage, inequality and (in)justice in the everyday mobility of people, goods and information. Topics that might be considered include, but are not limited to, the use of digital data to:

  • Understand transport-related social exclusion
  • Analyze motility (Kaufmann, 2002) or access to employment, education, social networks and/or healthy living
  • Examine socially and spatially differentiated exposure to pollution and harmful substances
  • Investigate the socially and spatially uneven patronage of ride-hailing, bike-sharing and similar mobility services
  • Probe inequalities in carbon emission from motorized transportation
  • Evaluate social and spatial differences in vulnerability to disruption of everyday mobilities
  • Scrutinize social and spatial inequalities in the relationships between mobility and wellbeing
  • Explore potentially exploitative labour relations in the transportation sector

Papers that consider how digital data are used by governments and firms to monitor and discipline ‘unwanted’ mobilities, including the formalization of ‘informal’ transport services by minibus, rickshaw, motor taxi, and so forth, are also very welcome.

Please submit your abstract (250 words max) plus AAG PIN (Personal Identification Number, obtained after registration for the conference at the AAG website) to tim.schwanen@ouce.ox.ac.uk and mpk654@gmail.com by October 16, 2019.

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