Mobilities in Asian Contexts - Special Issue in "Internationales Asienforum"

Call for Papers - Deadline for submission of abstracts February 15, 2013 - Deadline for submission of articles April 30, 2013

The study of mobility in recent years has gained new attention and gave way to a ‘mobility turn’ and a relational perspective in social and cultural studies, as expressed, for example, in the “new mobilities paradigm” (Urry) demanding a mobile sociology, in the “process geographies” (van Schendel) of dynamically changing flows as a new mode of Area Studies, or in the relational “spaces of flows” (Castells). In these concepts, mobility as an intrinsic part of human life and as a fundamental characteristic of societies has shifted to the very centre of the study of social structures and processes. Mobility as a way of life is considered to be the rule rather than the exception in societies. New means of transportation and communication technologies gave a boost to mobility and flows in qualitative and quantitative terms. The intensity of flows has increased and their reach extended, so that with due justification we can speak of a new quality of mobilities. Not only people are mobile, but also money, commodities, cultural objects, information, ideas, terms, norms and values. Along their cross-cutting trajectories, these human, material and immaterial flows shape local societies, cultures, economies and power relations, implicating various processes of translation, adaptation and hybridization. The flows themselves show a highly dynamic and ephemeral character, altering in response to or in anticipation of trends, ruptures, crises, conflicts or attempts to bring them under control, but also to new opportunities and alternative gateways. The focus on the complex (con-)figurations of networks and relations in the study of the social also necessitates a new conception of space: the thinking in national or regional containers in classical Area Studies has been replaced by relational and constructivist conceptions of space as composed by flows, nodes and relations. In a special issue in “Internationales Asienforum”, we want to collect innovative scholarly work focussing on different expressions of these new mobilities. We invite scholars of various disciplines (anthropologists, sociologists, human geographers, political scientists, and others) to present original empirical research on new mobilities in Asian contexts applying a relational perspective on space, networks and societies, from a broad range of issues, such as migration, flight and refugees, social mobilization, border studies, trade networks and translocal livelihoods. Articles can be submitted in English or German language and should be between 6,000 and 8,000 words in length.

Please submit abstracts (1-2 pages) by 15 February 2013 to one of the editors of this special issue, Henryk Alff, Andreas Benz or Matthias Schmidt, Freie Universität Berlin. Abstracts should include a problem statement, research question(s), methods and a brief description of results.

Please also include authors' current affiliation. The deadline for submission of full papers is 30 April 2013.

For any further questions, please contact the editors.