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Digital mobilities and digital society

Smith, Robin ORCID: 2022. Digital mobilities and digital society. Housley, William ORCID:, Edwards, Adam ORCID:, Beneito-Montagut, Roser ORCID: and Fitzgerald, Richard, eds. SAGE Handbook of Digital Society, London: SAGE, pp. 55-72.

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The 21st century has been marked by a rapid and unabated increase in mobilities of multiple forms, across multiple scales (Hannam et al, 2006; Sheller and Urry, 2006; Urry, 2010). The social impacts are well-known. People and things are increasingly on the move. Mobility is made a norm and an expectation, viewed, in its own right, as a good, and a good thing (Hall and Smith, 2013). In terms of mundane and workplace activities, whether people are physically moving or not, their activities are increasingly mobile in transcending geographic location and are increasingly interconnected. Such interconnected, synchronous and asynchronous, activities find physical and virtual realms combined within a single, multifaceted, contexture. From the point of view of everyday practices, the confluence of the rapid development of digital technologies across the past thirty years or so has both enabled and shaped patterns and possibilities of mobility practices at all scales. The world has become smaller and more readily available as information flows become faster and high-speed mobile devices ubiquitous. The social world and reach of the social actor have expanded exponentially. Consequently, disruptions to mobility, as experienced during the ‘lockdowns’ of the 2019 coronavirus pandemic, are keenly felt. Despite – or perhaps because of – increased global mobilities, the politics of the border and bordering are heating up more than ever before, both in relation to the handling of the pandemic (see Fitzgerald, 2021), as well as geo-political developments such as ‘Brexit’. These processes reflect, are shaped by, and, most significantly, produce new contours of the possibilities of belonging and exclusion (e.g. Benson, 2020). In tracing something of the impact of these rapid changes, this chapter adopts a mobilities perspective in approaching contemporary digital mobilities, and mobilities within digital society. A mobilities perspective begins with movement, as constitutive of social order, as described and theorised across the broad body of studies that might be gathered up under ‘mobilities research’ (Hannam et al, 2006) and the ‘new mobilities paradigm’ (Sheller and Urry, 2006). This chapter explores how digitally enabled and enhanced mobility practices are organised, and are being re-organised, in ways that reconfigure relations of temporality and spatiality, of embodied and virtual practices, and the character, availability, and relevance of space and place.

Item Type: Book Section
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Social Sciences (Includes Criminology and Education)
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
Publisher: SAGE
ISBN: 9781526498779
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 8 January 2024
Last Modified: 29 Jan 2024 16:15

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