Mobility, fixity, agency: Australia's working holiday programme



Recent writings on transnational corporeal mobility have been dominated by at least two concerns: mobility as ever-expanding or even complete; and mobility as determined by economic restructuring. In this paper, I confront such writings with empirical material from primarily qualitative research into Australia's working holiday programme, which was established in 1975 to allow British citizens between the ages of 18 and 26 to work and holiday in Australia for a period of up to 12 months. And I confront such writings with M. P. Smith's (2001) agency-oriented approach to transnational urbanism, which I extend with two arguments. Firstly, since agency is not a simple possession of intent or motivated human beings, the achievement of mobility rests on both human actors and non-human actants. Secondly, since mobility is not simply increasing, the achievement of mobility rests alongside what we might call relative contingent fixity. Copyright © 2004 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.