chapter  3
21 Pages

Society

The relationships between personal mobilities, on the one hand, and the unfolding of contemporary society, on the other, may be viewed as two-way ones, or as interrelationships. Technology-based personal mobilities may be considered as stemming from some more general societal processes, as being facilitated by them, or as constituting an integral part of such macro processes. ‘We assume, that mobility is a basic principle of modernity besides others like individuality, rationality, equality, and globality’ (Bonss, 2004). On the other hand, however, enhanced personal mobilities may simultaneously be considered as major societal processes by themselves, leading or bringing about some social change. This may be the case whether one views mobility as movement in space only, or if one prefers to view mobility within a wider concept of social mobility. Thus, ‘spatial mobility is not an interstice, or a neutral liaison time between a point of origin and a destination. It is a structuring dimension of social life and of social integration’ (Kaufmann, 2002, p. 103). And:

incorporating the mundane practices of personal mobility (albeit often technologically assisted) transforms appropriate metaphors and sociological concepts. Social processes have to be rethought as involving multiple mobilities with novel spaces and temporalities. Second, notions of such mobile persons can be transferred, metaphorically and literally, to the mobility of other entities, of ideas, images, technologies, monies, wastes and so on. In each case it is hybrids that are mobile, flowing along various scapes. Such networks comprise ‘physical’ and ‘human’ entities whose power derives from their complex mobile combination.