Reading Group

The CCG reading group provides a forum for for discussion and debate about critical theories and concepts relevant to the social sciences and humanities

12:30pm - 2:00pm
Thursday 21 August
Vince Marotta
Burwood Waurn Ponds VMP
Building C2.05By request By request
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The notion of 'Society' has become an increasingly problematic concept in sociology and social theory, despite being the central object of analysis to these fields. According to Urry (2000), society becomes increasingly difficult to conceptualize when individuals have to face 'inhuman' fluid and mobile processes of globalization. For Urry, the real significance of society lies not in its solidity but rather in its fluidity and flexibility. As a reaction to this 'mobility turn' in the social sciences, there has been a growing examination of 'slowness' and 'stillness' as counter narratives. Russell & Fuller theorize stillness as an autonomous process that is not "reducible to the dialectic of mobility and immobility" (2011: 6). The readings chosen for this week address this 'mobility' turn in the social sciences and prompt the following questions:

  • To what extent can these ideas inform our understanding of migration and cross-cultural interaction? If migration is about movement and mobility, does 'stillness' have a role to play in migration research?
  • Is stillness and mobility confined to the experiences of specific groups?
  • What role does power play in a person's ability to be 'still' and 'mobile'?
  • Is there a 'still' or 'mobile' subject? What would this subject look like?  Are they mutually exclusive?
  • Is the ability to be 'still' or 'mobile' an innate individual trait? Are these traits socially constructed?
  • What would a 'still' and 'mobile' research method entail?
  • How is 'stillness' and 'mobility' manifested in a world in which we are constantly interconnected through twitter, Facebook, blogs etc.?


1. John Urry (2000) 'Mobile Sociology' British Journal of Sociology, 51 (1): 185-203

2. David Bissell and Gillian Fuller, (2011) 'Stillness unbound' in David Fuller and Gillian Fuller (eds) Stillness in a Mobile World, Routledge, London, pp.1-12.

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