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“We’ve Lost Our Bearings”: Place, Tourism, and the Limits of the “Mobility Turn”



Abstract:  The “mobility turn” claims that conceding analytical priority to the study of mobility is the best way to overcome methodological approaches based on fixed and stable categories argued to be unviable in a world that is increasingly mobile. In this paper I argue that the mobility approach, far from reaching this goal, in fact reifies the cleavage between mobility and immobility, relegating immobility to a passive, undertheorized position, and collapsing the complex workings of power, thus foreclosing a dialectical understanding of the contradictory albeit co-produced processes of mobilization and immobilization. Drawing on an ethnographic analysis of the impacts of changing patterns of accumulation of the tourist industry on the urban space of Palma (Majorca, Spain), I suggest a relational approach attentive to the dialectics of mobility and stability, continuity and change.