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New ways of conceptualizing space and mobility: Lessons from the Sahel to the globalized world

Denis Retaille and Olivier Walther ()

No 2012-24, LISER Working Paper Series from LISER

Abstract: To date, geographers have conceptualised the increased mobility of contemporary societies in terms of conflicting or complementary relationships between spaces of places and spaces of flows. These approaches are, however, influenced by a “sedentary” vision of geography, in which mobility is conceived of as movement between relatively fixed locations. Building on earlier work, this article offers a conceptual alternative to this view in which places are predominantly defined by the crossing of flows and are defined as mobile as well. Our aim is to show how the model of the mobile space, originally developed in Sahelian Africa, could be possibly applied to the globalized world. Our model is based on a paradigm in which mobility is considered as the primary driving force of the production of geographic space. This allows us to reconsider both the production of space through movement and the control of space through borders. The paper argues that the way Sahelian societies comprehend space shares similarities with new currents in the globalized world, most notably because mobility and uncertainty have become the foundation of contemporary social organization.

Keywords: space; mobility; Sahel; West Africa; geography; flows; networks (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 32 pages
Date: 2012-05
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-afr and nep-mig
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