Mobilities and Mobilizations of the Urban Poor


This introduction sets out the aims of the symposium on mobilities and mobilizations of the urban poor. Exploring the physical, social and imagined movements of the poor into, within and out of cities, and addressing how these movements connect to the dynamics of urban social mobilization, it argues for an incorporation of the ‘mobility turn’ in studies of the urban poor. The introduction proposes a number of relevant themes within this approach, starting with increased attention to the interconnections between physical and imaginative movements. This is followed by a discussion of representations of mobility and mobile representations: the ways in which physical movement, place and urban poverty are represented, and the increased transnational mobility of these representations. Next, a focus on differential mobilities is used to analyze how mobility differences within or between social groups are (re)produced in local power constellations. In addition, the relation between mobilities and public–private divides is examined, especially in terms of physical and imaginative place‐making. A final emphasis is on academic mobilities, with the authors arguing for reflexive attention to the position of those who research the urban poor and the specific practices of mobility associated with this research.