Ethnography of Movement & Mobility

Co-directors: Patrick Ciaschi and Jan Dutkiewicz

The Ethnography of Movement and Mobility Research Cluster will engage with ongoing debates regarding ethnographic methods and methodology and their applicability to studying subjects, bodies, and objects in motion rather than those fixed in single sites, or even in multiple separate sites. The goal is to explore the potential of an interdisciplinary framework to explicitly studying movement in both theory and practice. Additionally, the cluster interrogates the grounded currency of concepts such as ‘displacement’, ‘mobility’, ‘return’, and ‘in transit’ in an attempt to create more adaptable analytical vocabularies. The group, in its inaugural year of collaboration, will work towards laying the foundation for both conceptual advancement and nuance in the study of ‘being in movement’ and the ethnographic and empirical possibilities for such advancement. How to do ethnography while moving and of subjects and objects that move and therefore preclude the possibility of being studied in a single site? This involves rethinking the relationship of ethnography to time and space, and considering the implications of basing research on flows rather than places. It would also mean looking beyond the focus of a strict gaze on individual migrant’s movements across borders that dominates studies of migration, realizing that a meaningful study of how ‘movement’ encapsulates more than the phenomenologies and lifeways of particular migratory events. This would entail, in other words, studying the attendant material conditions of movement and not just subjects in motion.

A final report of the group’s activity can be found here.



Dr. Denise Brennan (Georgetown University)

Dr. Julie Chu (UChicago)

Dr. Jessica Pisano (NSSR)

Dr. Kaushik Sunder Rajan (UChicago)

Dr. Miriam Ticktin (NSSR)

Brandon Fischer (NSSR)

Christina Kim (NSSR)

Tania Aparicio Morales (NSSR)

Meghan Morris (UChicago)

Andris Saulitis (European University Institute)

Douglas de Toledo Piza (NSSR)

Niina Vuolajarvi (Rutgers)

M2 poster ver7