Rural Mobilities: Towards Applied and Transformative Understandings

Published by admin on

Organized by María Cristina Manzano-Munguía (Benemérita Universidad Autónoma de Puebla) and Mark Watson and Kregg Hetherington (Concordia University, Montreal). 

For two days in March 2017 in the historic colonial City of Puebla in central Mexico, organizers will bring together a group of international scholars to explore the possibilities and challenges of applying a mobilities approach to rural research. Our title builds on Sheller and Urry’s (2006) “mobilities paradigm,” a framework for thinking about the social, economic and environmental implications of the movement of peoples, ideas and things, which the organizers will use to interrogate rural contexts. However, the organizers seek to push this paradigm with papers that interrogate the applied potential of such theorization. In particular the organizers want to offer the opportunity for participants to present, debate and exchange novel frameworks for bringing together mobilities research and practical initiatives.

The organizers leave the content and formulation of such initiatives purposefully open but they might include: the prospects and challenges of integrating analytical insights into policy proposals or other engagements with “policy mobilities” broadly defined, research collaborations with local or grassroots organizations, structures of inequality underpinning local experiences, changing commodity flows, new agrarian class relations, infrastructure building, Indigenous mobilities, or identity politics and migration. Essentially, the organizers are looking for participants interested in not only asking how a mobilities approach can further contribute to our understanding of rural experiences and transformations of socio-economic structures but also how such research is contributing to efforts towards collective social change.

Some questions of collective interest include:

  • What possibilities for engaged, public scholarship does a mobilities approach offer for research in rural societies and with rural peoples? Can it be used by grassroots organizations, in participation with others, to address practical issues in everyday life?
  • How do labour relations and identity politics at the local and global level complicate our understandings of mobilities in rural transformation and social formations?
  • What theoretical insights does mobilities research offer critical rural studies? What implications might such theory have for local conceptualizations and plans for social and economic transition?
  • How can mobilities research better contribute to community development strategies?
  • To what extent can interculturalidad (de)construct rural Indigenous mobilities and how Indigenous people (re)create their own frameworks of mobility?

The organizers ask that interested participants send an abstract (300 word limit) by September 15 to Mark and Maria at the following e-mail addresses: // Those selected will be notified by mid-October 2016 and will be expected to submit a full paper draft (20-25 pages) by February 24, 2017. Selected papers will be distributed among members of the seminar beforehand. The organizers will be consciously looking to publish revised papers from this seminar in a journal special issue and/or an edited book.

Participants will be expected to fund their own travel but special rates will be secured at local hotels for the booking of accommodations.

For further details, questions or for the submission of abstracts please contact either Mark ( or Maria (

Translate »