Research Project: Mobile People

Co-directed by Professors Engin Isin and Kimberley Hutchings, Queen Mary University of London Leverhulme Trust Doctoral Scholarships (QMUL-LTDS) will involve 21 PhD research projects (2018-2023) concerned with how the world is being dynamically constituted by mobile people in active and novel ways and how this affects fundamental social and political institutions.

Its aim is to generate theories, concepts, methods, and data that are necessary to understand mobility as a way of life – not as an exception but as an emerging norm. Current research demonstrates that developments in human mobility are interrelated with the ways in which they are studied, interpreted, documented, and managed. Thus, thinking about mobility as a way of life entails reflexivity about the processes of producing knowledge about mobile lives in an increasingly mobile world: how we study, manage, govern, and imagine it. The projects will address the transformative effects of mobile people on the social and political institutions they inhabit and construct. How mobile people are creating new worlds, not solely as host versus guest, mobile versus immobile relations, but in ways which fundamentally challenge social and political institutions of citizenship, democracy, nationality and security is the innovative focus of this programme.

The programme is organised according to thematic priorities which reflect established expertise at QMUL. These themes (boundariesgenerationsenvironmenthealthidentitieslanguage) will be studied in relation to the impacts of mobility as a way of life on social and political institutions (citizenshipdemocracynationality, and security). The organisation of the programme is guided by the principle that institutions such as citizenship (membership, rights, obligations), democracy (representation, participation, government), nationality (sovereignty, state, territory), and security (authority, legality, threat/protection) are undergoing profound transformations. These transformations are shaped by and reshape the articulation of spatial relations (boundaries), temporal relations (generations), meanings of place from world to home (environment), definitions and experiences of well/ill-being (health), dispositions and behaviours (identities), and communication and speech (language).

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