This panel explores how mobilities and immobilities (re-)shape notions of hope, opportunity, risk and failure in a cross-cultural perspective, examining hope as a social category distributed unequally locally and globally as well as individual aspirations and practices for mobility and a better life
Mobility and immobility are central aspects of social and cultural hierarchies of contemporary life. People all over the world are exposed to widening sets of meaning of the good life as they experience other places through traveling, social networks, and media representations. Realizing these meanings is often related to the hope of mobility and a life elsewhere. Yet, an increasing number of people are excluded from the global circuits of legal mobility, being disconnected from the desired promises of globalization. This panel explores new geographies of hope and despair, analyzing how mobilities or immobilities (re-)shape notions of hope, opportunity, risk and failure in a cross-cultural perspective. It takes departure in an understanding of hope a as a social category that can be distributed unequally locally and globally - for instance through migration regimes that shape access to mobility and livelihoods. It will also explore how hope is manifested in individual aspirations and practices for mobility and a better life and in the social utopias in religious institutions or grassroots movements. Papers will address ethnographic findings and theoretical reflections, such as: Who produces what visions of hope for whom? Who is included and excluded? How do people perceive and renegotiate these visions? To what degree do they relate to mobility, confinement, and social change? And what are the opportunities and limits of using a framework of hope and despair when theorizing mobility and immobility?