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The emergence of a new paradigm in the science of society

Question:

Discuss about the Future Agendas in Mobilities Research.

The past three decades have witnessed geopolitical, technological, institutional changes that enabled the increase in circulation speed plus magnitude of information, objects, and people globally, although it brings with it uneven effect on individuals and environment. From 1991, the process has been receiving problems from the increasing attention being given money to travel movement and questions in a wide range of disciplines in education, namely anthropology, sociology and human geography. In this study, John Urry and Mimi Sheller argue that such growing body of research has elements that constitute paradigm that is emergent, an upcoming research framing, in the science of a society (Schorpp). Therefore this essay closely explores the concepts of nomadism, sedentarism, and mobility and how it is affected by Networked technologies.

The current mobility paradigm shutters with the assumption based on the twentieth century's social science believing that the “social” constitution is a group of relationships that are intense between individuals who are physically close. It also argues that communication technologies together with travel allowed connections proliferation at a far distance and the said distance plus the relationship that are present are very important in joining and connecting social life together (SZYMANOWSKI).

The perspective is that it is not easy to talk to groups of people which make a society as self-contained in the sense that individual freely talk of, for instance, the “Chinese community” since relations considered social take place across both national and local boundaries. It is therefore problematic to make assumptions that social relations involve just human beings as technologies mediate conceptions of individual heavily and the relationship they have with other people and the world at large. It, therefore, entails not just their selves but their engagement capacities with other people and the environment around them. Going into these functions brings about new question regarding networking (Jensen)

It is from this that Urry and Sheller make an argument that having “the social” as sociology’s study object requires the assemblage of objects and humans and their arrangement and order over space and time. The taken morphology by these configurations incorporates unevenly, multiple connected nodes globally. That said people get seen as working with machines. With that, the current paradigm of mobilities holds on to the need of examination of the precise nature of the networks which attend to their emergent properties. The suggestion brought forth is that of being sensitive to the process in the global system created by mobiles of becoming multiple determinations (Hannam, Urry, & Sheller, 2006).

The current mobility paradigm and its assumptions

Such theorization of the social formation is by some perspectives that include technology studies of sociality material conditions that incorporate the theory of Actor-network and sociology of Georg Simmel, science. Further, by aspects of embodiment writings, spatial turn in the science of social and emotional geographies, the theory of complexity and networks research. The argument by Urry and Sheller is that current paradigm on mobilities legitimates the study’s new objects and sociological methods of inquiry that are new. The methods constitute ethnographies of co-presence micro-interactions, the observation that is participative and people interviews on the move (mobile methods). Additionally, to feelings of places, circulation of objects, use of objects to create memories of venues and meetings, tracing physically or the tracking technology thought, ways of researching the temporal dynamic of points of transfer such as train stations and airports (Schorpp).

The modern man has become what we can refer to as a digital nomad or homeless due to the aspect of mobility. For instance, a person that lived some few decades ago could be amazed by how digital mobile technologies have changed our social interactions, our work, our relation to places and our identity. Cresswell (2006) study shows a new breed of social urbanites who that have embraced a new way of life which appreciates and uses technology (Wi-Fi) in driving their daily activities. Moreover, according to some economists, it is argued that it is the permanent connectivity that has made us nomads and not the portability of the technological gadgets (Cresswell, 2006, 7).

People always traveled and migrated without necessarily leading a nomadic life. The emerging nomadism is different from and entails much more than making a journey. A nomad in the modern world can include a teenager in Tokyo who decides to travel to Los Angeles in America or a CEO taking a flight to the Gulf. He/she may not need to have left his or her city, or better yet stepped in an airplane. It is evident the distanced moved irrelevant entirely. Even if an urban nomad confines herself to a perimeter that is small, she nonetheless has a new and different relationship to time, to other individual and to time. Thus connectivity that is permanent is what matters not motion. Nomadism, most trust that it tends to bring people together with such as family. However, it can do so at the expense of having attentiveness towards strangers they encounter physically (The Economist, 2008).

The social formation in a networked world

Technology is responsible for the changes in today’s nomadic societies and in fact, accelerates them. In particular, connectivity that is reliant on wireless data seems to improve with time as cellular networks become more reliable and faster (The Economist, 2008). The mobility systems are becoming complex as a result connections which are dematerializing as images, ideas, money, machines, power, people, and danger are on continuous movements and changes. Further, the social networks get underpinned by technologies based upon frames of time that go beyond the consciousness of human beings. Computers make decisions in the fraction of the second, producing effects that are simultaneous and instantaneous. Computing that is pervasive provides a switching and mobility between the different system of reproduction such as the internet with search engines that are massive (Hannam, Urry, & Sheller, 2006). It vivid that technological networking is creating nomadism that is killing human connections yet aiming to enhance the same connections.

Sedentarism brings an idea that mobility has had the negative consequences on human life. Additionally, the mobility turn emanated as a response to the manner in which social science had been static regarding nomadism as a black box and trivializing or rather ignoring the “ the significance of the movement of masses in search of work, leisure and pleasure, and for other reasons search as protest and politics. Additionally, sedentarism has been quite influential as it views mobility regarding place, spatial order, rootedness, and belonging. The concept of mobility gets often assumed as a threat to the stable and rooted moral and authentic existence of place (Cresswell, 2006, 9).  Network applications have the capability of causing security risks to the society and hindering social interactions particularly in the emergence of social media. The only way to deal with the adverse effects of networked technology is to analyze them and minimize them to allow a connected sane society

Mobility research is playing a forefront role in developing new ways of thinking about matters of politics. Since people are mobile, differentiated movements of capital goods equally, information and services that are contemporary are essential for future mobility sustainability. Indeed the single defining characteristic of the research on movement is its attention to the actions of multiple immaterialities both non-human and human. Materialities that have different properties, qualities are formed of relations that differ. Focuses on mobile materialities problematize distinction that is simplistic between non-humans and humans and instead retunes attention towards assemblage of moving matters (Jensen). 

Conclusion

Conclusively, from the above, it is distinct that mobility is a concept that is central to the life of people. With the world developing in both socially and technologically, globalization has been seen as a product of high levels of mobility within the globe. While various critics from both sides of the sociological divide argue from different perspectives. It is important to understand that movement is essential in human development. Nothing is to remain static or fixed if it has to progress and that the idea that nomadism causes disorder and disruption is a perception that cannot be justified. Demonizing the idea nomadism leaves free people like refugees and other global nomads in a weak and risky state. Nomadism should get seen as an approach that seeks to foster human integration, increase diversification and that which contributes to a global flow of culture through activities such as sports and music. However, the debate on the two forms of motility remains debate among social science scholars. The high rate of technological advances seems to foster this idea.

References

Hannam, K., Urry, J., & Sheller, M. (2006). Editorial: Mobilities, Immobilities and Moorings. Mobilities, 1, 1-22.

Jensen, O. B. (n.d.). Mobilities on the ‘Future Agendas in Mobilities Research. Retrieved Septmeber 29, 2017, from www.lancaster.ac.uk: https://www.lancaster.ac.uk/fass/events/mobility-intersections/docs/Jensen_Of%20Other%20Materialities%20v.%204.0.pdf

Schorpp, C. U. (n.d.). The New Mobilities Paradigm. Retrieved September 29, 2017

SZYMANOWSKI, R. (n.d.). THE MOBILITY TURN IN THE SOCIAL SCIENCE. Retrieved September 29, 2017, from repozytorium.amu.edu.p: https://repozytorium.amu.edu.pl/bitstream/10593/14887/1/Szymanowski_The_Mobility_Turn_in_the_Social_Science.pdf

The Economist. (2008). Nomads at last. Retrieved September 29, 2017, from www.economist.com: https://www.economist.com/node/10950394

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