This course is discontinued

SGO9203 – The politics of human mobility

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Course content

This course explores the politics of human mobility, emphasizing theoretical perspectives founded in human geography. The politics of mobility can be understood as the ways in which mobilities shape and are shaped by social relations that involve the production and distribution of power. Recent research on mobilities examines a great diversity of mobile phenomenon, and this course concentrates specifically on the mobility of people. Such mobilities (and immobilities) can be explored at multiple scales, including the local, the urban, and the transnational. Mobilities may also be produced through the relations between scales, an issue that will be addressed in this course. By focusing on how mobility relates to power, we seek to explore common theoretical themes that cut across sub-fields such as political geography, urban geography, and the geography of migration and transnationalism.


The course is organized by the Department of Sociology and Human Geography in collaboration with the Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO). It is offered in conjunction with the Norwegian Network on Geographies of Mobilities (NNGM), a research network funded by the Research Council of Norway.


The third day of the course is also a gathering of the NNGM and features presentations of work in progress by NNGM members.


Tim Cresswell, Northeastern University

Katherine Gough, Loughborough University

Per Gunnar Røe, University of Oslo

Jørgen Carling, Peace Research Institute Oslo

Marta Bivand Erdal, Peace Research Institute Oslo


The course is open to applications from all interested Ph.D. students. PhD students at the Department of Sociology and Human Geography at the University of Oslo gain theory-points and register for the course in StudentWeb.

Interested participants outside the department shall fill out this application form.

The deadline for applications is 17th August 2015.



The course is located in room 221 Harriet Holters Building


Monday 12 October

09.00–09.15    Welcome and introductions

09.15–10.45    Katherine Gough (Lecture 1)

10.45–11.00    Break

11.00–12.30    Per Gunnar Røe

12.30–13.15    Lunch

13.15–17.00    Presentations by 5 PhD candidates


Tuesday 13 October

09.00–10.30    Jørgen Carling

10.30–10.45    Break

10.45–12.15    Katherine Gough (Lecture 2)

12.15–13.00    Lunch

13.00–16.45    Presentations by 5 PhD candidates


Wednesday 14 October

09.00–10.30    Marta Bivand Erdal

10.30–10.45    Break

10.45–12.15    Tim Cresswell (Lecture 1)

12.15–13.00    Lunch

13.00–16.30    Presentations by NNGM members


Thursday 15 October

09.00–10.30    Tim Cresswell (Lecture 2)

10.30–10.45    Break

10.45–12.15    Presentations by 2 PhD candidates

12.15–13.00    Lunch

13.00–14.30    Presentations by 2 PhD candidates

14.30–15.30    Concluding discussion



Katherine Gough

Mobility over the life course

Rogaly, B. (2015) 'Disrupting migration stories: reading life histories through the lens of mobility and fixity.' Environment and Planning D: Society and Space, 33(3):528-544.

Swe, Y.Y. (2013) 'Mobility encounter: The narratives of Burmese refugees in Norway.' Norsk Geografisk Tidsskrift - Norwegian Journal of Geography, 67(4):229-238.

Yeoh, B.S.A. and Ramdas, K. (2014) 'Gender, migration, mobility and transnationalism.' Gender, Place & Culture, 21(10):1197-1213.

Findlay, A., McCollum, D., Coulter, R. and Gayle, V. (2015) 'New Mobilities Across the Life Course: a Framework for Analysing Demographically Linked Drivers of Migration.' Population, Space and Place, 21(4):390-402.

Dufty-Jones, R. (2012) 'Moving Home: Theorizing Housing Within a Politics of Mobility.' Housing, Theory and Society, 29(2):207-222.

Per Gunnar Røe

Urban travel mobilities and inequalities

Cass, N., Shove, E. and Urry, J. 2005. 'Social exclusion, mobility and access'. The Sociological Review, 53(3): 539 -555.

Jensen, O. B. 2009. 'Flows of Meaning, Cultures of Movements – Urban Mobility as Meaningful Everyday Life Practice'. Mobilities, 4(1): 139-158.

Kaufman, V.; Bergman, M. M. and Joyce, D. 2004. 'Motility: Mobility as Capital'. International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, 28(4): 745-756.

Preston, J. and Rajé, F. 2007. 'Accessibility, mobility and transport-related social exclusion'. Journal of Transport Geography, 15(3): 151–160.

Røe, P. G. 2000. 'Qualitative research on intra-urban travel: an alternative approach'. Journal of Transport Geography, 8(2): 99-106.

Shaw, J. and Hesse, M. 2010. 'Transport, geography and the ‘new’ mobilities'. Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers, 35(3): 305–312

Jørgen Carling

Power relations of mobility and immobility

Bakewell, O. (2011) 'Conceptualising Displacement and migration: Processes, conditions, and categories.' in Koser, K. and Martin, S. (eds) The migration-displacement nexus: Patterns, processes, and policies. Oxford: Berghahn Books, 14-28.

Carling, J. (2002) 'Migration in the age of involuntary immobility: Theoretical reflections and Cape Verdean experiences.' Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, 28(1):5-42.

Carling, J. (2008) 'The human dynamics of migrant transnationalism.' Ethnic and Racial Studies, 31(8):1452-1477.

Katherine Gough

Mobility and livelihoods

Gough, K.V. (2008) '‘Moving Around’: The social and spatial mobility of youth in Lusaka.' Geografiska Annaler: Series B, Human Geography, 90(3):243-255.

Kloppenburg, S. and Peters, P. (2012) 'Confined Mobilities: Following Indonesian Migrant Workers on Their Way Home.' Tijdschrift voor economische en sociale geografie, 103(5):530-541.

Kusakabe, K., Lund, R., Mishra Panda, S., Wang, Y. and Vongphakdy, S. (2014) 'Resettlement in Lao PDR: mobility, resistance and gendered impacts.' Gender, Place & Culture, 22(8):1089-1105.

Langevang, T. and Gough, K.V. (2009) 'Surviving through movement: the mobility of urban youth in Ghana.' Social & Cultural Geography, 10(7):741-756.

Rao, N. (2013) 'Migration, mobility and changing power relations: aspirations and praxis of Bangladeshi migrants.' Gender, Place & Culture, 21(7):872-887.

Turner, S. and Schoenberger, L. (2012) 'Street Vendor Livelihoods and Everyday Politics in Hanoi, Vietnam: The Seeds of a Diverse Economy?' Urban Studies, 49(5):1027-1044.

Marta Bivand Erdal

International migration, citizenship and the politics of belonging

Antonsich, M. (2010) 'Searching for Belonging – An Analytical Framework.' Geography Compass, 4(6):644-659.

Bauböck, R. (2003) 'Towards a political theory of migrant transnationalism.' International Migration Review, 37(3):700-723.

Brubaker, R. (2010) 'Migration, Membership, and the Modern Nation-State: Internal and External Dimensions of the Politics of Belonging.' Journal of Interdisciplinary History, 41(1):61-78.

Erdal, M.B. (2012) 'A Place to Stay in Pakistan': Why Migrants Build Houses in their Country of Origin.' Population Space and Place, 18(5):629-641.

Tim Cresswell

On friction

Clausewitz Cv. (2007) On war, Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Tim Cresswell, "Towards a Politics of Mobility," Environment and Planning D: Society and Space 28, no. 1 (2010): 17-31

Chris Rumford “Rethinking European Spaces: Territory, Borders, Governance,” Comparative European Politics 4 (2006): 127-140

Tsing AL. (2005) Friction : an ethnography of global connection, Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press. (Introduction).

Tim Cresswell

Black Moves: Moments in the History of African American Mobility

Simone Browne, "Everybody's Got a Little Light under the Sun Black Luminosity and the Visual Culture of Surveillance," Cultural Studies 26, no. 4 (2012): 542-64, 548

Tim Cresswell, "Towards a Politics of Mobility," Environment and Planning D: Society and Space 28, no. 1 (2010): 17-31

Ananya Jahanara Kabir, "Oceans, Cities, Islands: Sites and Routes of Afro-Diasporic Rhythm Cultures," Atlantic Studies 11, no. 1 (2014): 106-24, 107.


Each participant is requested to send in a one-page description of her/his Ph.D.-project (aim, research questions and methodological approaches) to, two weeks before the start of the course, on 28th September 2015.

The entire four-day event makes up the PhD course, with the equivalent of 6 credits. For approval, this includes writing a paper of minimum 4 000 words to be submitted by 1 December 2015. Participants are requested to present their own work, focusing specifically on how it relates to the politics of mobility. The paper is to be sent to

Grading scale

Grades are awarded on a pass/fail scale. Read more about the grading system.

Facts about this course






Autumn 2015

12-15th October 2015


Autumn 2015

Teaching language