CFP: Moving boundaries in mobilities research, University of Cagliari, Italy

Moving boundaries in mobilities research

Organised by the University of Cagliari in collaboration with the Cosmobilities Network
Venue: University of Cagliari (Sardinia, Italy)
Dates: 5-7 July 2012

Keynote speakers

Malene Freudendal-Pedersen (Roskilde, Cosmobilities Network)
Sven Kesselring (MoRE, Munich, Cosmobilities Network)
Mimi Sheller (mCenter, Drexel, Philadelphia, Pan American Mobilities Network)


Mobilities is a distinct strand of theory and research in social science, an evolving approach that synthesises in an original way existing and new writings on the combined movements of people, objects and information. The mobilities turn addresses conceptual and methodological challenges posed by old and new transformations in transport and communication systems and their implications for contemporary lives and natures.

Over the last decade the mobilities turn has generated enthusiasm across different fields and informed studies in a wide range of topics and problematics, from tourism, migration, transport, urban planning and mobile communication to logistics, climate change, consumption and inequality. In the Anglophone world interest is particularly evident in sociology and human geography. One among many anecdotal examples is Tim Cresswell’s article ‘Towards a politics of mobility’ which currently figures as the most downloaded paper in the last twelve months in Environment and Planning D: Space and Society.

While research has, up to date, tended to focus on the daily micromobilities of people and objects, attention is also being directed towards histories of mobility, the mobility of ideas, large scale circulation systems, building materials and resource consumption and circulation. As an approach with moving boundaries, mobilities research is also developing methodologies and methods that respond to both conceptual innovations and the empirical realities of a world on the move. Innovations in ‘mobile methods’ are openning up promising prospects and still unfulfilled possibilities some of which are related to the way new ICTs routinely generate, collect and disseminate data. The mobilities turn, like most social science, still has to come to terms with these trends and create synergies with streams of research that are successfully exploiting these opportunities. At the moment, major advances in network theory, one of the backbones of complexity theory, are coming not so much from the physical sciences but from research on the social, drawing on vast amounts of data generated by intelligent networked infrastructures and mobile telephony.


This conference, funded by the University of Cagliari and organized in collaboration with the Cosmobilities Network, aims at discussing new directions in mobilities research, showcasing the state of the art in the field, and providing a unique opportunity to create lasting links among researchers, especially in the north and the south of Europe.

The language of this event will be English but the range of papers presented will be a reflection of the diversity of concerns, approaches and methodologies informing mobilities research in Europe and beyond.

Young and experienced researchers are invited to submit abstracts for paper presentations. High quality abstracts on any aspect of mobilities are welcomed although submissions addressing the following themes are particularly encouraged:

· histories of mobilities
· cultures of mobilities
· mobilities outside the north Atlantic rim
· the spaces and politics of mobility (and immobility) in the Mediterranean city
· forms of mobility other than car, train and aeroplane
· research conducted in collaboration with artists and public and private actors outside academia illustrating the way new knowledge collectives are formed around the use of new ICTs
· transnational research involving different institutional settings


In order to maximise opportunities to present a wide range of research and learn about what is happening in the field of mobilities, this event is organised as a ‘festival of ideas’ consisting of short presentations followed by plenty of time for questions and collective discussion. The time for each presentation will depend on the number of submissions finally accepted and participants should be prepared to make brief interventions. The event will be scheduled in a way that maximises the time for discussion and socialising.

Introducing the Cosmobilities Network

This conference is part of a series of regular events jointly organised between European universities and Cosmobilities to promote mobilities research in southern and eastern Europe and strengthen links between researchers in and outside academia. On Thursday 5 July, following the inaugural presentation, Malene Freudendal-Pedersen and Sven Kesselring will introduce the Cosmobilities Network, and talk about its origins in 2004, its activities, future plans and how to become involved.

Deadline for abstract submissions

Deadline: April 25, 2012

Contact for abstract submissions:
Javier Caletrío
Ugo Rossi


Event organized and funded by the University of Cagliari (Dipartimento di Scienze Sociali e delle Istituzioni) in collaboration with the Cosmobilities Network.
Professor Giuliana Mandich (University of Cagliari)
Dr Javier Caletrío (CeMoRe, Cosmobilities, Visiting Fellow University of Cagliari)
Dr Ugo Rossi (University of Cagliari)

Registration and accomodation

No registration fees are required. A modest contribution may be required for the partecipation to the conference dinner. Further information can be found at For accomodation options in Cagliari please have a look here: /2010/02/09/alloggiaccommodations/


Cagliari, the capital of Sardinia, is the perfect location for a Cosmobilities event. A crossroad between cultures throughout the centuries – among which Phoenicians, Romans, Vandals, Byzantins, Aragons, Catalans- it offers one of the most beautiful and longest beaches in the Mediterranean and a crystal-clear sea around, besides an unspoiled natural environment consisting of lagoons, bird sanctuaries and wildlife reserves, as well as museums and archaeological sites, which altogether make it a unique scene in Europe.