Accepted paper:

Producing immobility, preserving mobility


Jaume Franquesa (University at Buffalo-SUNY)

Paper short abstract:

Through an ethnographic and historically informed analysis of the construction of Majorca as a tourist destination, the paper suggests a dialectical approach to im/mobility, paying particular attention to preservationist policies and practices and its relationship with processes of commodification.

Paper long abstract:

Tourism implies the production and reproduction of both mobile flows of people and of a seemingly 'fixed' place, the tourist destination. This paper will explore the dialectics between mobility and immobility through the analysis of the century-long (re)production of Majorca as a tourist destination, paying special attention to the relationship that in the urban context preservationist policies and practices maintain with the tourist industry and with processes of commodification and decommodification of place (including the social practices that constitute it). This (re)production unfolds through a permanent process of place transformation (in order to allow mobility) and place preservation, understood as the fixing of a determinate correlation between a certain space and certain characteristics and practices. As I will show, this is a changing and often contradictory process, as preservation can be deployed as a means of enhancing tourist flows or of protecting society from its deleterious effects. The paper will conclude that a dialectical approach to mobility and immobility attends to the struggle to define what parts of social reality are transformable and what are natural or given. I argue that this struggle constitutes a politics that is best understood in terms of hegemony.

panel Plen3
Immobilities: new challenges for anthropology in a globalised world (Young Scholars Plenary)