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Mobile Cultures: From the Sociology of Transportation to the Study of Mobilities

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Abstract

This article reviews the current state of the research on mobile cultures by situating it within the sociology of mobility, or mobilities. The review focuses in detail on empirical research on the social and cultural aspects of transportation. The study of transport in daily life, or the study of mobile cultures, is reviewed with a particular attention to issues of time and space, as well as the social problems and social inequalities generated by dominant patterns of mobility. It also discusses the mobility turn in sociology and the growth of a new mobility paradigm influencing important shifts in sociological theory and research methodology. It defines the field of mobilities as the study of the social aspects of movement, including the movement of people, material objects, information, and capital – both in the material and the virtual sense. Mobilities for instance may include phenomena as migration, transport, travel and tourism, wireless and portable communication technology use, the social organization of transportation and communication infrastructures, and regional and transnational flows of capital and material things.

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