Building on the notion of locality as a socially produced, relational process, this panel explores how those leading mobile lives practice both place-making and community-making, examining the role played by digital technologies and social media.
The contemporary world is traversed by countless mobilities (Urry, 2001). Mobile workers, global nomads and a whole host of other travellers live 'on the move', for different reasons and to different degrees. For a privileged few, fast modes of transportations have cancelled out spatial distances, while for many, communication technologies have fostered virtual forms of proximity. However, even for such groups, intimacy, friendship and attachment remain essential for creating a sense of place. Building on the notion of locality as a socially produced, relational process (Massey 1991; Appadurai, 1996), the papers in this panel explore how those leading mobile lives both practice place-making and community-making, examining the role played by digital technologies and social media. Rather than considering digitally mediated relationships as opposed to physical co-presence, the panel invites to consider their complex entanglements, and the way digital tools mediate between the processes of moving and settling. Collectively, we ask how relatedness, belonging and sense of community are created and maintained by those leading mobile lives. At the complex intersection between face-to-face encounters and virtual connections, what skills and tools do mobile subjects use to build their networks and master the emotional aspects of continuous transitions? How are intimacy, friendship and attachment constructed? What challenges do mobile subjects face in their everyday attempts to socialise and form communities and how does digital technology intervene?