ABSTRACT

The purpose of this chapter is to provide a first example of the way the geographical imagination—ideas about such things as place, spatial order, and mobility—provides an underlying metaphysics that influences and informs thought and action. In later chapters we will see how areas such as law, physiology and choreography have given mobility meaning at the same time as they have been informed by preexisting meanings of mobility. This chapter is presented in the same spirit—as an exploration of the mobilization of mobility as a root metaphor for contemporary understandings of the world of culture and society. It is an examination, in other words, of the way a geographical imagination informs the construction of new forms of knowledge—in this case, academic knowledge. In contemporary social thought, words associated with mobility are unremittingly positive. If something can be said to be fluid, dynamic, in flux, or simply mobile, then it is seen to be progressive, exciting, and contemporary. If, on the other hand, something is said to be rooted, based on foundations, static, or bounded, then it is seen to be reactionary, dull, and of the past. This has not always been the case and this chapter explores some of this history.