Wednesday, 24 April 2013

CFP: Theorising mobilities in/from Asia

14-15 November 2013
Asia Research Institute, National University of Singapore

Asia’s rapid ascension to become a beacon of 21st century development has ostensibly rendered the region that much more dynamic and fluid. In particular, the continent now seems abuzz with activities involving the circulation of large numbers of people and goods between and within countries and urban centers. While mobilities have long been a staple in Asian societies and a force of social transformation throughout history, a greater need/desire for mobility in recent years has impelled new ways of being on the move in Asia. Of note, fresh outlooks have emerged in relations to the organisation of. as well as people's aspirations for, migration and transport mobilities—at times resulting in new innovations and phenomena, and at others, seeing the importation and re-circulation of different models.

Shifting the focus to these themes inevitably plugs Asian social research to literatures subscribing to the mobilities turn. Of note, there is growing awareness among scholars that societies are principally loose formations shaped and reshaped by the very condition of flux and restlessness, rather than stable, self-evident entities. From how urban rhythms alter the city’s fabric to how international travel is governed, scholars have outlined the disparate ways in which places are animated, made meaningful, and moulded out of mobile ideologies and practices. The resulting scholarship is also one that does not seek to locate stasis, but one that tries to unfix apparent, but misleading, 'fixities'.

Despite this newfound emphasis, the mobilities literature has remained rooted in the Anglo-American context within which it first gained prominence. Its disposition, it seems, remains to valorise, even universalise, ‘western’ theories, terminologies and perspectives about moving, so much so that 'Other' expressions of mobilities have been silenced or excluded. This conference thus invites scholars to explore ways of retrieving these lost knowledges of mobilities through a deliberate (re)turn to ‘Asia’. In particular, the region is taken as a collective of centres for re-understanding and re-theorising mobilities in their plurality and, especially, how migration and transport have compelled new social outlooks and modes of organisation in ‘Asian’ contexts. In building such a cosmopolitan case, participants are encouraged to engage with the following questions:

• What do mobilities (and mobile subjects) mean in the region, and how are they expressed through migration and transport?
• How have mobilities in Asia developed over time and through disparate historical pathways?
• What are the impetuses for mobilities in Asia, particularly where organised movements are involved?
• How do different forms of mobilities intersect and to what extent have they challenged regulatory regimes in Asian contexts?
• How do we theorise mobilities in Asia vis-à-vis other regions?

Paper proposals should include a title, an abstract of 300 words maximum and a brief personal biography of 150 words for submission by 14 June 2013. Please send all proposals to Mr Weiqiang Lin at here for the Paper Proposal Submission Form. Successful applicants will be notified by 14 July 2013 and will be required to send in a completed draft paper (5000 - 8000 words) by 14 October 2013.

Based on the quality of proposals and the availability of funds, partial or full funding will be granted to successful applicants. Participants are therefore encouraged to seek funding for travel from their home institutions. Full funding cover air travel to Singapore by the most economical means, plus board and lodging for the duration of the conference.

CFP: International Conference: Practising the Good Life/The Good Life in Practices

The Call for Papers is now open for the International Conference: Practising the Good Life/The Good Life in Practices, to be held at the Universidade Nova de Lisboa (Lisbon, Portugal) on October 17th/18th 2013.

This will be the first conference in Portugal solely dedicated to Lifestyle Mobilities. The conference is free of charge, but is limited to a maximum of 24 paper presentations, to be delivered in plenary sessions over two days.

Privileged forms of mobility have not only become increasingly evident in the past few decades but they are also attracting growing attention as an area of enquiry within social sciences research across various disciplines. These mobilities are driven by the pursuit of ideals loosely and subjectively defined as leading to a better quality of life. Playing on the tensions and interactions between tourism and migration, such forms of movement and settlement are theorized as  'lifestyle migration', 'amenity migration', 'counter-urbanization migration', 'international retirement migration' and ‘residential tourism’.
Notably, while the various ways of perceiving this type of movement and reterritorialization signal a striking diversity concerning the various actors involved – whether expatriates, global nomads, counter-culture dropouts, highly skilled professionals or retirees – the phenomenon seems to be at once clearly identified and loosely characterized. The motivations, circumstances, life trajectories, expectations, outlooks and material conditions of individuals may vary widely, since these types of migratory projects are largely individualistic, designed on a voluntary basis and supported by sufficient resources to pursue a better quality of life. In essence, their particular relation to place(s) questions notions of 'home' and suggests singular ways of constructing belonging.
While much is already known about these mobilities, more systematic and textured analysis is necessary to move forward. Previous work flags directions to explore such as the specificities of destination contexts (that range from rural areas to holiday resorts and include sites of spiritual relevance); the ambivalences of dwelling between 'local' and 'outsider' categories; and the entanglements of privileged living conditions, infrastructures and policies geared to tourism and the second-home market as well as the negative impacts for local populations and their environments. In this conference, we suggest delving into these and other aspects of lifestyle oriented mobilities by taking a practice-based approach. Exploring how people, in practice, live out “the good life” implies considering how mobilities materialize in people’s everyday engagements, institutional articulations and international dynamics. Among the practices that could be considered are:
  • Transnational Practices – approaches drawing on a transnational lens to reflect on the particularities of the lifestyle driven mobilities at stake such as perspectives grounded in material culture; transnational families; production of locality or other aspects of transnationalism;
  • Modalities of reterritorialization – approaches focused on the symbolic investments shaping the construction of belonging(s), such as practices of solidarity and community-making at a local level; commitments to citizenship; reinforcements and reworkings of ethnicity; engagement with place through spirituality; appropriations of new settings sought by lifestyle migrants; language learning and language practices;
  • The role of the senses – approaches centered on the senses and sensory based practices, including the construction of meaning through art, leisure, performance, sports in lifestyle migration’ contexts; the importance of landscapes and environments in the relationship with place; the production and appropriation of the domestic space;
  • Mediations of lifestyle migration – approaches exploring the role of (broadcast, “new” and/or “small”) media in the promotion and construction of lifestyle migration, such as research exploring how people resort to media for the negotiation of cultural identities in a lifestyle migration context; their relationships to “home” and the production of (local, diasporic, or other) imagined communities; the promotion of destination-images; specificities of media made by, for, with and/or about lifestyle migrants;
  • Structuring practices: approaches that critically reflect on the inter-relations between Lifestyle Migration fluxes and policy making as well as economic activity, such as international retirement programs attracting migrants; real estate industry dynamics impacting on fluxes; environmental activism deriving from investments on residential tourism infrastructures; entrepreneurial activities and other modalities of work; the internationalized fluxes relating to the care giving market;
  • Areas of Friction: approaches exploring how the presence of conflict sheds light on the contours of lifestyle migrants lived experience (e.g. textured relations between autochthones and foreigners; tensions between the perspective of the context of settlement and the context of origin; strategies of integration; ambivalent positionings and strategies particular to second-generation lifestyle migrants, etc.)
Please send your abstracts (max. 300 words) by June 1st to:
Participants will be notified of acceptance by June 15th.
Full papers are to be submitted by October 1st for circulation among participants. Please keep papers under 6000 words.
For more information, please visit: