The eighth special issue of the Annals of the American Association of Geographers has been guest edited by Transport Studies Unit Director Dr Tim Schwanen, in collaboration with Mei-Po Kwan. Published in March 2016, this edition brings together 26 articles on the Geographies of Mobility.
Over recent years conceptualizations of mobility and immobility have become richer and more diverse, in particular moving beyond understanding mobility simply as a physical movement to also consider the social meanings and embodied practice of such movement. The scholarly developments of the last decade - the 'mobilities turn' - have elevated mobility to become one of core concepts of geography.
Special issues are a long time in the making, this one having its genesis three years ago with a call for abstracts. Co-editor Kwan says, "We were astounded to receive 230 submissions, a record for the Annals special issues. The topics of abstracts reflected the heterogeneous ways in which geographers are engaging with mobility from leisure travel to the immobility of persecuted people, and from space-time modelling to mobility in the context of natural disasters."
The Editors faced a tough selection process to choose papers to reflect a diversity of theme, perspective, approach, method, and regional focus. Co-editor, Schwanen says, "While this special issue is certainly not the first forum for a plurality of geographic approaches to the study of mobility, we believe that this attempt is unique in scale, openness, and heterogeneity of contributors."
Each individual article makes an important contribution to the geographies of mobility but the strength of a special issue is in enabling new insights to emerge. Kwan says, "In this exciting collection we can see cross-cutting themes, lines of connection and differentiations, and new opportunities for conversation within the discipline."