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How can urban mobility be fair and just to all? The seventh Cities and Mobilities seminar focuses mobility justice.

Detail Summary
Date 20 April 2018
Time 13:45 - 17:00

In the seventh Cities and Mobilities seminar, we’ll focus on politics of mobility and mobility justice, discussing mobile practices of specific ‘vulnerable’ groups and engaging with a broader theoretical framework of understanding mobility and justice, presented by Mimi Sheller (Drexel University, the US). The abstract for her talk is available below, other abstracts are available at the Cities and Mobilities website.

Mobility Justice: Cities, Infrastructure, and Kinopolitics

Based on my forthcoming book Mobility Justice (Verso, 2018), this talk will present three core concepts. First, the idea that cities and mobilities are inextricably linked, each producing the other. Second, the idea that there is a kinopolitics of infrastructure – that is, a political struggle over the infrastructural shaping of (im)mobilities, or the ways in which infrastructures mobilize and demobilize. And third, I will conclude with the idea of the mobile commons as a political movement for mobility justice. I will argue that dynamic constellations of urban mobility and communication exhibit uneven topologies, turbulence, disruptions, differential speeds, and frictions, which at the same time offer handles, channels, and frequencies for interruption “from below” or glitches from within. Through kinopolitical struggles over “infrastructuring” the excluded majority create fissures and new possibilities for connection, which potentially may have important effects on urban space, on scalar relations, and on the governance and control of mobility regimes.

Building on the work of Anna Nikolaeva and others, the mobile commons refers to access to the cooperative social territories and shared infrastructures of movement (both material and immaterial) – i.e., the pathways, ways, and means of moving, sharing, and communicating, which have been cooperatively produced by human relation to others, both human and more-than-human, through common passage, translation, and co-usage over time. The commons, in other words, is not land or resources as such, but is an action and a verb – a movement to make life in common, a commoning. Ultimately I seek to show how shared mobility commons suggest forms of autonomous social cooperation outside of capitalism, and beyond or beneath the limits of national borders, existing as an undercommons in the interstices of planetary urbanization.

Speaker: Mimi Sheller

Mimi Sheller is a professor of sociology and founding Director of the Center for Mobilities Research and Policy at Drexel University. She is the current President of the International Association for the History of Transport, Traffic and Mobility (2014-2017), and co-editor of the journal Mobilities, which she co-founded in 2006. She is author and co-editor of nine books, including most recently the monographs Aluminum Dreams: The Making of Light Modernity (MIT Press, 2014) and Citizenship from Below (Duke University Press, 2012); and the co-edited volumes The Routledge Handbook of Mobilities (2013) and Mobility and Locative Media (2014). As founding co-editor of the journal Mobilities, Associate Editor of Transfers: Interdisciplinary Journal of Mobility Studies, co-editor of Mobile Technologies of the City (2006) and Tourism Mobilities (2004), and author of several highly cited articles, she helped established the new interdisciplinary field of mobilities research (source: Drexel University).

Full programme


Opening by Anna Nikolaeva (CUS, organizer of the seminar series)


Hanna Murray-Carlsson, Radboud University Nijmegen: ‘The city center might be technically accessible, without being accessible to me’: A Relational Time-Geographic study of the mobility of visually impaired people

Martin Šimon, Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic: Homeless mobility seen through GPS tracking data: what can we learn from less cool urban nomads?


Coffee break


Mobility Justice: Cities, Infrastructure, and Kinopolitics by Mimi Sheller

Comments and discussion

Discussant: Tina Harris, Assistant Professor in the Department of Anthropology (CUS/UvA)



Seminar Series

The Cities and Mobilities Seminar Series aims to develop a conversation on how mobilities shape cities. It does so by fostering exchange and collaboration between scholars from different disciplines and practitioners working on urban mobilities. For more information about the seminar series and for the abstracts of all presentations, please check the Cities and Mobilities website.


The seminar is free and open to anyone. Please let us know if you are coming by sending an e-mail to the Centre for Urban Studies.

Roeterseilandcampus - building M
Roeterseilandcampus - building M

Plantage Muidergracht 12
1018 TV Amsterdam

Click here to register