Moving with practices

It’s always an exciting moment to see your words make it into print. Though there are always things you would have changed with hindsight, it is also rewarding to know that finally your thoughts, and the experiences others generously shared with you, can move on to begin a discussion with readers.

In that spirit, here are a few sentences from my latest paper, which can be found on the publisher’s site for those with university subscriptions. While it is an academic paper, for anyone who is not connected to a university but remains interested, there is also a limited number of free downloads available at this link.

“Despite arguments that mobilities are pervasive aspects of all social life,many studies of leisure, hobbies and subcultures have failed to probe the significant extent to which travel affects these communities. After arguing that social practices are inseparable from their mobilities, this paper shows how the objects and goals of leisure reinforce structured ways of travelling. That is, enacting the goals and emotions of leisure, and using specialized objects and knowledge, is only possible when leisure enthusiasts move in particular ways and according to distinct temporalities.” (p2, online advanced copy)

“patterns of travel are not just shared by leisure enthusiasts—they are constitutive of these groups. That is, subcultural practices are made distinct and meaningful by their temporally structured mobilities.” (p16, online advanced copy)

“Studying mobilities through the frame of practices is therefore important because it sheds light on how people are ‘mobile-with’ practices and the elements that compose them.” (p16, online advanced copy)

The full citation for article in question is:
Hui, A. (2013). Moving with practices: the discontinuous, rhythmic and material mobilities of leisure, Social and Cultural Geography. Published online 2 Sept. Available at:

What is Mobilities?

Last month, I had the great pleasure of attending the Pan-American Mobilities Network’s annual conference, this year framed around the theme of Differential Mobilities. The event was brilliantly hosted by Concordia University’s Mobile Media Lab in Montreal, and brought together a huge range of scholars, some of whom had not been identifying their work with what has been called ‘the new mobilities paradigm‘ by Mimi Sheller and John Urry. Nonetheless, despite, or perhaps more correctly because of, this diversity, the event was extremely fruitful, with papers that were of a very high standard and conversations and events that will stay with me for some time yet.

Since there was a huge new media presence for the event (in part thanks to the huge team of student volunteers that Kim Sawchuk and Ben Spencer amassed), there are several options for those who are curious but couldn’t make it in person. You can check out the conference website, #mobilities13 hashtag, which was used throughout the event, or even my very first explorations of tweeting from an academic conference. The MML team also went around the conference interviewing participants about their work and how they engage with the concept of ‘mobilities’. This series of interviews, entitled ‘What is Mobilities?’ offers brief introductions to people’s research, but even more importantly helps to convey the energy and passion of the conference and the people who comprised it. Too often academic research can seem dry because we encounter it through typeset words that have been poked and prodded to fit expected genres and styles. The WIM? series provides a glimpse of the people, and what makes working in this area so energizing. I did one, which you can find here, or spend some time browsing through the others from a great groups of colleagues.


[View the story “Differential Mobilities Conference 2013” on Storify]