Module Identifier GG37620  
Academic Year 2003/2004  
Co-ordinator Professor Timothy J Cresswell  
Semester Intended for use in future years  
Next year offered N/A  
Next semester offered N/A  
Course delivery Lecture   20 Hours 10 x 2 hrs  
Assessment TypeAssessment Length/DetailsProportion
Semester Exam2 Hours A seen final examination paper, answering two qeustions from four50%
Semester Assessment A coursework essay of up to 3,000 words to be submitted in week 11. Standard IGES polity on the late submission of work will apply to the coursework essay. Both elements of the assessment must be completed to obtain a pass mark based on the aggregate performance.50%
Supplementary Exam Resit for a condoned non-completion of examination or coursework involves the completion of the missing component(s) for the full range of marks on dates set in the Supplementary Examination period. Resit due to aggregate failure or non-completion of part of the assessment requires re-examination of each component if marks of <40% in both were obtained, or re-examination or re-submission of the failed component (examination of assignment(s) to obtain a maximum mark of 40% for the module). 

Learning outcomes

On completion of this module, students should be able to:

  1. Demonstrate an understanding of the role of mobility in the creation, maintenance and transformation of social relations in a wide range of contexts at different scales
  2. Display knowledge of the development of theoretical perspectives on mobility in geography and in the social sciences in general
  3. Show an appreciation of how these theoretical approaches apply to the empirical study of mobile people
  4. Develop a range of skills in note-taking, utilization of readings, critical reflection, independent work and writing

Brief description

In this course we will examine the geographical basis of social power - its creation, maintenance and transformation through an examination of mobility at various scales. Examples will range from the movement of the human body through various technologies of everyday mobility such as the car and the train to the contemporary concern with transnational movement (including refugees and asylum seekers). The dialectic relationship between society and space expressed in the idea of "spatiality" will be central to the course. We will see how spaces and mobilities of one kind or another are created in order to produce power and particular kinds of relations between social groups. Examples include the politics of walking, the role of the railroad in the creation of American mythology, the threat of the tramp and vagabond and the significance of airport terminals to postmodern theory. In addition to an examination of power we will also look at the way space and mobility comes into play in the transformation of power through innovative forms of resistance rambling, joyriding, train-jumping. Through these explorations we will focus on a range of social groups including children, poor people, gay people, disabled people and ethnic minorities. Students will come away from the course with the theoretical tools necessary to understand the variety of relations between space, (mobility) and power and a firm knowledge of the way this works on the ground.

Topics include:

Theorising Space, Place, Mobility and Power

Geographies of Mobility

Metaphors of Mobility


This module aims to introduce students to a critical analysis of the geographical basis of social power. The module will examine mobility at various scales and discuss the importance of mobility to the creation, maintenance and transformation of social power. The module aims to equip students with the theoretical tools necessary to critically discuss the variety of relations between space, mobility and power, and with the intellectual skills to demonstrate knowledge of how these processes operate and interact in practice, including reference to empirical examples.

Reading Lists

** Recommended Text
Cresswell, Tim (2001) The Tramp in America Reaktion Books
Chambers, Iain (1994) Migrancy, Culture, Identity Routledge
Hetherington, Kevin (2000) New Age Travellers Cassell
Hyndman, Jennifer (2000) Managing Displacement: Refugees and the Politics of Humanitarianism University of Minnesota
Jasper, James (2000) Restless Nation: Starting Over in America University of Chicago
Kaplan, Caren (1996) Questions of Travel Duke University Press

(2001) New Formations (Mobilities) Spring. Lawrence & Wishart London, vol.43

Papastergiadis, Nikos (2000) The Turbulence of Migration Polity
Solnit, Rebecca (2000) Wanderlust: A History of Walking Viking
Urry, John (2000) Sociology Beyond Societies: Mobilities for the 21st Century Routledge
Van Den Abbeele, Georges (1992) Travel as Metaphor: from Montaigne to Rousseau University of Minnesota


This module is at CQFW Level 6