Theoretical Orientation on Mobility 2

Periode 2
Faculteit der Sociale Wetenschappen
drs. B. Slijper
prof. dr. J.T. Sunier
prof. dr. J.T. Sunier
prof. D. Dalakoglou
dr. R.A. Gigengack

Doel vak

As the main objective of this course, students develop further their
skills of framing a research question theoretically, including making a
well-informed assessment of the potentials and limitations of assorted
theoretical concepts applied to topical issues.
In order to integrate insights from this course as closely as possible
with their research plan, students choose between one of three
specialisations of TOM-2.

Learning outcomes:

Knowledge and understanding - The student has acquired knowledge and
understanding of:
(1) the most important theories and concepts in one the the three
specialisations of TOM-2

Application - The student has acquired the competences to:
(2) integrate theoretical concepts of this course into their respective
research plans in the making (simultaneously written in the course Field
Research Design).

Making judgments – The student is able to demonstrate:
(3) a critical and curious attitude, that is, an eagerness to question
both accepted, scientific explanations and prevalent assumptions about
phenomena that by some actors have been defined as ‘societal problems’.

Communication – The student is able to:
(4) compose a clear and creative, theoretically grounded, oral or
written argument.

Learning skills – The student has acquired the skills to:
(5) cooperate in small teams when they take responsibility for giving a
full lecture.

Inhoud vak

The content of this course is aligned with the research programme of the
Department of Social and Cultural Anthropology, titled ‘Mobilities,
Belonging and Beliefs: Confronting Global Inequalities and Insecurities’
(MOBB). We take up mobility in the broadest sense of the word as a
conditioning and disciplining, but also a productive and enabling
process. Mobility is about migration and exchange taking place on both a
local and a global scale; it can lead to transnational lives and
hybridization. The research programme is also about social mobility,
life course mobility, and mobilities in terms of shifting societal
stratification patterns. In order to enable the students to use as many
of the theoretical notions of this course in their research plan,
students can choose between three specialisations: Mobility and
diversity; Development and sustainability; City, space and politics.

Mobility and diversity
Diversity has become a buzz word lately. It is often considered to be a
core characteristic of modern society, and a direct consequence of
globalization, mobility and the growth of urban landscapes. Diversity,
be it cultural, ethnic, social or political, has been depicted as the
key fundamental societal condition. In 2007 Vertovec published ‘Super
Diversity’ in Ethnic and Racial Studies to denote contemporary migratory
situations in the UK and elsewhere in Europe, but the term diversity has
taken on a much more general meaning. During the course, we will discuss
the theoretical and societal implications of diversity. We will assess
its complexity given the fact that diversity is at once an analytical
concept, a preferred characteristic of society, and a practice.

Development and sustainability
Historical events such as colonialism and the development of industrial
capitalist economies in Europe led to a current world-system of unequal
global distribution of wealth that we often call the split between
developed and underdeveloped world. This phenomenon leads to very
explicit political, social and economic conditions that dominate the
world today. In this specialisation, we approach critically the ideas of
development and their historical roots in 19th century and especially in
the period after World War II. We analyse and talk about current
international development policies and current trends within the
development industry, approaching interactions between (inter)national
stakeholders and local populations. We approach in reference to
development themes such as civil society and State, global commodity
chains, NGOs and International Organisations, poverty,
industrialisation, urbanisation, family and kinship, religion and
globalisation, structural adjustments, fair trade and ethical
capitalism, but also about resistance to development, de-growth, Commons
or post-development theories, to mention just a few of the issues that
we will discuss.

City, space and politics
Starting from Henri Lefebvre’s fundamental insight that urban space (or
any space for that matter) is not a given, but a social product, we see
a whole series of questions opening up: who is in control of a certain
space, by what means, for what purpose, who is contesting or resisting
the current use of urban space, what do these spaces mean to people,
etcetera? The questions evolving around the key issue how urban space is
socially produced, is very important, because urban space subsequently
has an enormous impact on people’s behaviour, offering chances and
forcing constraints upon them. When we study urban space from a mobility
perspective, topics that are particularly pertinent are, among others:
flânerie and automobility, movement in and out of public spaces, making
borders and boundaries, forcing people out of dwellings while others
fence themselves in in gated communities, social mobility, and creative


Lectures and tutorials.


Four written individual assignments (80%) and Group presentation (20%).


To be announced in the course manual (see CANVAS).

Vereiste voorkennis

Active participation in the preceding course "Theoretical Orientation on
Mobility 1".


Students in the Master Social and Cultural Anthropology.

This course is also open as an elective course for students in the
Master Educatie in de mens- en maatschappijwetenschappen and the
Educatieve masteropleiding Leraar Voorbereidend Hoger Onderwijs in de


In this course you can not enroll yourself for the tutorials, but you
will be assigned by the course coordinator. Note: You do have to
register for the course, including the remaining corresponding parts!

© Copyright Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
asnDCcreatorasvVUAmsterdam asnDCdateasv2018 asnstudyguideasvmodule asnDCidentifierasv51243520 asnDCtitleasvTheoreticalOrientationonMobility2 asnperiodasv120 asnperiodasv asncreditsasv6p0 asnvoertaalasvE asnfacultyasv50000042 asnDCcoverageasvprofdrJTSunier asnDCcoverageasvprofDDalakoglou asnDCcoverageasvdrRAGigengack