John Urry Masterclass reading notes 1

Some very brief notes on John Urry’s Paper “Mobility, Space and Social Equality” for upcoming masterclass at UWS next week (over the fold).

Mobility, Space and Social Equality

Critically explores mobility. From organised to disorganized capitalism. “Multiple mobilities become central to the structuring of inequality within contemporary disorganized societies.” (3)

Citizenship and inequality

Classic notion of citizenship for conventional national framing of social stratification [I am interested in stratifications and organisation at other levels, these may involve ‘banal nationalism’ but not belong to the ‘national’ as such] (4)

Defined in terms of shared risks (contingencies) across a territory. [From risks to entrepreneurial appreciation of contingency? Australia at least the privileged figure within neo-liberal capitalism is not worker but the entrepreneurial ‘small business owner’ + worker as fluro-collar ] State has responsibility for producing stable conditions – through attribution of rights and duties. (5)

Global complexity hollowing out of this national social domain through organising power over life-chances and life-styles of its ‘members’. Citizenships of flow (6) Post-national citizenship? (7)


Citizenship through mobility lens. (7) Problematic, unequal distribution of access to transport, poverty of access (7-8).

Four components of the notion of ‘access’: economic, physical, organisational, and temporal: Economic resources, physical integrity of access, capacity for organisation, frequency and distribution of availability. (9-10)

Simply increasing access is problematic (10). Relation between mobilities, not just an absolute value of mobility. May be ‘blocked desires’. Social impact of contingent events. [Negri, time from below and time from above?] Difference between access to formal social institutions and enabling access to informal sites of sociality. (11)

“Where nodes in such networks are located at geographical distance from where people live or work, access involves communications and intermittent travel. Hence social inclusion is a matter of overcoming constraints of space at particular moments of time so as to gain access to the informal networks of work, leisure, friendship and family. There is an unavoidable ‘burden of mobility’ in order to sustain social networks (Shove 2002).” (11)

Network Capital

Reconceived through analysis of types of capital that Bourdieu sets out. (12)

Mobilities not new. Restrictive, happens within a ‘mobility complex’ (13).

Contemporary capitalism presupposes expressive bodies (14).

“Capitalism involves power as a mobile entity and able to constantly produce the new and then to take advantage of it.” (14) [the ‘new’ produced by or ‘realised’ through mobile bodies? Novelty not through labour of transformation but displacement? below]

Social relations consequence of new mobilities. Marx social relations of capitalist production and not only upon forces of production (14)

Real relations: Social relations of capital and labour-power, also generate fetishism of commodities (15-16). Proliferation of mobilities is not in itself so significant as the novel social relations produced. Fetishism of movement parallels Marx’s critique of the fetishism of commodities. (16)

“‘social relations of circulation’ or network capital that is key. Network capital is the capacity to engender and sustain social relations with those people who are not necessarily proximate and which generates emotional, financial and practical benefit.” (16)

Network capital comprises of 8 elements (17-18)

Links to Putnam’s social capital (19), however, local cultures not sedentary, creative class may not want close-knit relations, even so trust and reciprocity not only contained within “propinquitous communities” (20)

‘exit’ as act of power (21). Many examples of such ‘exitability’.

Movement leaves information traces (22)

4 replies on “John Urry Masterclass reading notes 1”

  1. no, don’t read it 😛

    Hopefully if I find the time (!!!!) the rest will be going out over the next couple of days. But I try to always put my notes up if I am doing a group thing (reading group or class), they can sometimes be useful or whatever in some way. Discussion could even spread into blogosphere ::gasp::.

    it should be good fun. I met John Urry in 2004 when he was visiting Sweden when I was there on exchange. He was pretty cool. I am literally a different person now (about 20kgs lighter lol). His explicit sociological framing and correlative rhetorical mode of address is relatively unique amongst the cadre of those I ‘read’.

    but why are you in adelaide?!?! was that easier than coming to syds?

  2. i’m going to be still in Boston when the sydney one’s on – in fact i’m flying to adelaide the day after i fly into brisbane – must be nuts, or a theory nerd after all…

Comments are closed.