Successful collaboration begins with a shared language, hence the need for a glossary. This joint effort of contributors from several teams ensures, on the one hand, terminological and conceptual coherence across not only our theoretical approaches, but also the qualitative case studies and quantitative research conducted in OPPORTUNITIES. On the other hand, our glossary facilitates communication between the academic side of the project and the fieldwork conducted by NGOs, uniting our teams working from Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Ghana, Italy, Mauritania, the Netherlands, Portugal, Romania and Senegal.

For more information about the Structure and Objectives of the Glossary, click here...)

Mobility is an umbrella term for a wide range of phenomena (e.g., migration, globalization, tourism, and transport), as well as other processes more remotely related to movement and fluctuation such as social mobility or social resistance. Mobility requires motility, “the capacity of a person to be mobile” (Kaufmann 2016, 37). Yet the potential to be mobile depends on an individual’s personal circumstances (see the distinction between migrants and expats) and “the way in which [one] appropriates what is possible in the domain of mobility and puts this potential to use for his or her activities” (Kaufmann 2016, 37).

Public discourses tend to use the terms mobility and migration as synonyms, to refer to the movement of groups of people from one country to another. However, the concept of mobility usually has positive connotations such as chance, opportunity, aspiration, and ambition, whereas that of migration correlates with notions of insecurity, danger, risk, or crisis.

⇢ see also Expatriate, Migration, Mobility studies

References and further reading:

Adey, Peter. 2017. Mobility. 2nd ed. London and New York, NY: Routledge.

Kaufmann, Vincent. 2016. Re-Thinking Mobility: Contemporary Sociology. London and New York, NY: Routledge.

Urry, John. 2007. Mobilities. Cambridge and Malden, MA: Polity.

Category: C

Work Package: 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7