CFP> Transforming work in mobile worlds

Here’s an interesting call for papers from David Bissell and Francis Collins that’s been posted to Crit-Geog-Forum on the ways work is transforming travel and our uses of technology and vice versa, and how that is involved in shifts in how we perform other (perhaps all) aspects of our lives.

Transforming Work in Mobile Worlds

David Bissell, The Australian National University
Francis Collins, University of Auckland

The dynamics of labour has been approached through many different geographical perspectives. In this session we want to explore how the conceptual lens of mobility offers a powerful and provocative way of posing new questions and staging new problems about the practices and affectivities that produce experiences for labouring bodies. Labouring bodies are entangled in various forms of movement and stillness. They involve different configurations of timing, rhythm and habitGoing to work, for instance, for many involves commuting across cities and regions, migrating within and across territories, or undertaking forms of mobile work. There are also distinct temporalities to labour practices that intersect with these mobilities in all sorts of ways – the tenure of a work visa, the rhythms of the workday, or the connections between labour and the timing of lifestages.

Beyond these general assertions about the relationship between temporality, mobility and labour we observe emergent phenomena that are potentially reshaping these connections, inviting us to think them anew. On the one hand there has been a growth in longer-distance commuting as a constitutive feature of some working lives, manifest in mobile work lives, fly-in-fly-out labour, long distance living arrangements and the rise of global work. Similarly, in the realm of ‘migration’ we have witnessed a marked shift towards temporary and circular migration, both in the aspirations and subjectivities of migrants and the governmentalisation of migrant mobilities and lives through temporary migration regimes.

Together, these trends suggest that there might be some profound and intriguing reconfigurations happening in many workers’ lives. But what sorts of transformations are these new working and migratory practices giving rise to? For instance, the trends indicate that these new mobile working practices are changing bodies, changing relationships, changing family forms, changing place attachments, changing communities, and changing the very nature of belonging. This session aims to grapple with precisely these transformations of labour, life and place.

Disciplinarily, this session aims to forge a richer dialogue between mobilities research and migration studies in order to explore how these mobility practices are creating new kinds of subjects; how they are necessitating new kinds of skill; and how new kinds of relationships are emerging. We believe that these new mobile working practices invite analysis through the complimentary perspectives and theoretical resources that mobilities and migration research offers.

We therefore invite papers that explore the relationship between labour mobility and migration, temporality and affect. This could include a focus on the timing and rhythms of social sites like the workplace; the multiplication of labouring bodies through the governmentalisation of time at the border; subjective understandings of timing of lives and labour and its interrelationship with pasts, futures and presents. Other themes may respond to the following questions:

  • In what ways are the multiple temporalities of work being reconfigured through different forms of mobility?
  • How are bodily capacities, thresholds and limits emerging through new working practices, including flexible, precarious or irregular work?
  • How are new temporalities and mobilities of labour generating new forms of aspirations, desire and sense?
  • How might we trace the affective contours of temporality and mobility in labour?
  • What are some of the intersections between forms of mobile or temporary work and expressions of social difference such as gender, race, ethnicity, class, sexual difference?
  • What are some of the techniques for exploring the richness of subjective experiences of extended temporariness in migration and/or work life?
  • How are different institutions and organizations implicated in the transformation of work in mobile worlds?
  • What are the implications of the timing and mobility of work and life for experiences of belonging, identity and the generation of community?
  • What connections are emerging between mobile work and other migratory forms such as education, working-holiday, or lifestyle?

Abstract submission: Monday 19th October 2015

Please send abstracts of 250 words max to both David Bissell and Francis Collins. We will contact successful applicants by the 23rd of October 2015. Once selected participants must pay the registration fee and submit their abstracts online at the AAG by October 29th 2015.

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