Mobilitet i børnehøjde: En mobilitetssociologisk analyse af praksis, velfærd og ulighed i børns hverdagsliv

Trine Fotel

Publikation: Bog/antologi/afhandling/rapportPh.d.-afhandling


The thesis Child-wise Mobilities rethinks theoretical and analytical relations between mobility and welfare in everyday practices. It concentrates on children's perspectives but includes also relations to parents' mobility practices and perspectives. The methodological design is based on two case studies of a suburban and urban residential area. Access to the 36 children aged 11-12 and their parents, has been through the two local schools. The methods used forms a collage and aims at understanding the phenomenon ‘mobility' from a child's perspectives as well as explaining some of the processes behind mobility such as welfare and capital. The children have answered questionnaires, written diaries, drawn sketches, and taken photographs as well as participated in individual and/or group interviews. Parents have answered questionnaires and nearly half of the parents were interviewed. The presentation in the thesis is ‘mobile' shifting between different types of presentations, including visual material.


The main focus is on children's bodily mobilities but other dimensions of the ‘wheel of mobility', such as visual, imaginary, and communicative mobilities have also been taken into account. The main conclusions are that mobility is practical - it is an integrated aspect of everyday practices and it is increasingly complex and multi-scalar. Children are indeed reflexively competent mobile actors. They reflect, act, and negotiate in their daily ‘mobility-arenas', which cross many spatial-temporal multidimensional scales. In the same vein, mobility is obviously linked to everyday welfare and (as Bauman also hints at), it is differentiated. A theoretical concept of mobility capital is developed and its dimensions of mobility burden, mobility conditions, and mobility coping are defined. The concepts are used to discuss how mobility is part of how human beings cope with conditions in everyday life in general. A fourfold Weber oriented ideal type-model is developed, using four different metaphors, which describes dynamics in the everyday mobile practices of children and their parents. The dimensions of freedom, individuality and community are integrated in the model since they are judged especially important in relation to analyzing families as an ‘epicenter of mobility'.


Theoretically, the study is linked to the three major fields of mobility, welfare, and childhood research, respectively. The combinations of theories and analyses within these three broad fields are in itself a multidimensional mobile intellectual practice, resulting in a hybrid profitable analytical gaze. It is discussed how studies related to the ‘new mobilities' paradigm proclaimed by, amongst others, John Urry, is often oriented towards global, broad technological, ‘elite'-mobilities, and mainly focused on automobility. Combined with the horizons of welfare research, it is possible to ground mobility in everyday life, showing its dimensions of inequality and differentiation. In the, Giddens inspired, late modern ‘reflexively mobile' society, these dimensions show in a lot of ordinary tasks, e.g. how children are taken to school, how the family dwells in the car, how children move around and relate to various ‘affordances' in their neighborhood.


The ontological and epistemological positioning of this thesis is mainly inspired by Bourdieu and Lefebvre. They both have a practice-ontological position acknowledging bodily experience, time and space, but a slightly different attitude towards change, reflexivity, and reproduction. Children are seen as a social, not necessarily homogenous group, coping with the conditions of what is currently part of ‘childhood'; this sociological view of the child is also positioned by, amongst others, Qvortrup, Corsaro, and James, Jenks & Prout. Finally, a lot of other theoretical perspectives are used in order to discuss aspects in relation to a just production of space (with amongst others Harvey and Østerberg) and aspects of children's cosmopolitan reflexivity (with amongst others Beck). The final discussions in the thesis unify and summarize the previous analysis in order to discuss potentials of integration of children into planning and politics as well as children's rights as mobile citizens.

Bidragets oversatte titelChild-wise Mobilities: An analysis of practice, welfare and inequalities in children's everyday lives from the perspective of the 'sociology of mobility'.
ForlagRoskilde Universitet
Antal sider244
StatusUdgivet - 2007
NavnFS & P Ph.D. afhandlinger


  • Mobilitet
  • Hverdagsliv
  • børne- og barndomssociologi
  • familier
  • transport
  • byplanlægning

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