Conference Agenda

RS16_01: Spatial Immobilities
Wednesday, 21/Aug/2019:
11:00am - 12:30pm

Session Chair: Knut Petzold, Ruhr-Universität Bochum
Session Chair: Heiko Rüger, Federal Institute for Population Research (BiB), Germany
Location: BS.4.05B
Manchester Metropolitan University Building: Business School, Fourth Floor, North Atrium Oxford Road


The Young Women Who Stay Behind. Spatial Immobility And Proximity As A Resource In French Rural Areas

Sophie Orange1, Fanny Renard2

1University of Nantes, France; 2University of Poitiers, France

Within a French rural context where an increasing number of local businesses are closing, it is usually necessary for young people to obtain qualifications and to move to towns or cities in order to find an employment. However, a certain number of young women settle down near their families after leaving school. The aim of this presentation is to use the concept of “capital of autochthony” to analyse supports and resources that help these young rural women, who do not have a high level of economic and cultural capitals, to find an employment or to reconcile their family and professional life. Capital of autochthony allows these young women to deal with the scarcity and insecurity of jobs, the maternity constraints and a low income. We suggest that proximity can be considered as a resource for those sedentary young women to deal with domestic assignment and to avoid disqualified jobs by entering the self-employment sector. This presentation draws on a study based on in-depth interviews (n = 35) and ethnographic observations conducted in western-central France with young rural working-class women who have continued to study, live and work in the place where they grew up. Finally, we suggest that if the capital of autochthony can alleviate the lack or weakness of central capital in access to certain markets (e.g. employment, real estate, matrimonial), it does not allow to fully compensate this deficit.

Who Is Staying Behind? Characteristics Of Lifetime Stayers And Movers In Germany

Thomas Skora

Federal Institute for Population Research (BiB), Germany

In the course of the “mobility turn” in the social sciences, calls have been made to also pay greater attention to immobility. However, studies on people who have never left their place of childhood (lifetime stayers) are still scarce. Gaining a better understanding of the characteristics and living conditions of these stayers is of high relevance, as staying turns out to be ambivalent from an individual and societal perspective: While spatial immobility is typically perceived as a shortcoming that hampers career progression, policy makers consider staying to be advantageous for rural communities. This paper aims to address this research gap by drawing on data for the years 2000 to 2016 from the German Socio-economic Panel (GSOEP; n=292,199 observations from 39,657 individuals). Based on the native-born population, it examines i) the spread and ii) the socio-demographic and socio-economic characteristics as well as the well-being of lifetime stayers in comparison to movers. Lifetime stayers are respondents who still lived at the place of their childhood at first wave and have not migrated across county borders afterwards. Analyses are stratified by age groups. First findings reveal that the proportion of lifetime stayers decreased between 2000 and 2016. Nevertheless, in 2016, nearly every second middle-aged adult still lived in the region where she/he grew up (46% of people aged 35–64). Staying at the place of childhood is negatively associated with income and occupational status. However, stayers seem to be compensated by a higher level of satisfaction with regard to leisure activities.

Practices of Car Parking and the Construction of Immobility

Karol Kurnicki

University of Warwick, United Kingdom

My project focuses on practices of car parking in the context of everyday mobility and infrastructure production in three European cities. The practice is enabled by an oriented towards an object. By analysing it, I am interested in exploring the role of materiality in social practices, material relations unfolding in processes of (im)mobility and their consequences for social life in cities.

In this presentation I talk about the ongoing fieldwork in London and Warsaw. In its course, I combine field visits and observations, interviews and digital data analysis. Specifically, I would like to discuss how is parking construed in social media and how it is performed by drivers in natural urban setting. In so doing, I will confront the hypothesis that parking becomes visible mainly in instances when it is problematic – both when a driver cannot find a parking space or when parked vehicles cause delays or obstructions. The interaction between drivers and their cars as well as cars and their surroundings – as observed during fieldwork and conveyed through digital means – will be my main points of interest.

Additionally, building on the ongoing research, I would like to propose a conceptualisation of immobility as a practical achievement characterised by strong ties of material objects, specific embodied knowledge and connectivity between various levels of urban life. By conceptualizing car parking as a practice, I will attempt to bring together concepts from mobility studies and social studies on infrastructure.