Im/mobility and Waiting in Times of Uncertainty

anthromobI am honoured to be giving the keynote at the ANTHROMOB workshop on November 6th from 18.30 to 19.30 at University of Barcelona. I will be thinking aloud about im/mobility and waiting in times of uncertainty.

Migration studies were slow to incorporate immobility and non-migrants as proper research topics. There are by now convincing calls to continue with the incorporation of the motivations to, meanings of, conditions under which, and strategies to staying put vis-à-vis similar explorations regarding different types of spatial mobility (not only the one that crosses international borders). The need for this articulation is captured in the increasingly popular term im/mobility. The Mobilities perspective recognized from very early on that mobility requires “moorings”. The research agenda this turn set in motion became however too focused on developing a “nomadic metaphysics” and “mobile methods”. Consequently, stasis and the lack of movement have not received as much research attention as it was anticipated. In this presentation, I am concerned with the idea of waiting. In our era depicted as hyper mobile, and “owing to a predominant academic attention for ‘kinetic’ promises of transport and mobility”, waiting has not deserved much academic attention. At the best it is conceived in a very simplistic way as a waste of resources. But, can there be different ways of waiting? Can waiting, similarly to immobility, be a proper research object? And finally, can waiting be a useful concept to address life strategies and im/mobility decisions in a period of growing work precariousness and life uncertainty?