Humans have always been in motion, be it while hunting meat, searching for better natural resources, or seeking fertile land to cultivate; be it through widening borders; be it while fleeing war or religious persecution; be it in the pursuit of a place that provides job opportunities, better living arrangements, etc.; be it in the improvement of their education; be it in the execution of their work; or be it in realizing a dream of exploring a new region or country, among other fators. However, it was in the mid-20th century that mobility made great strides through technological transformations in the transportation sector – above all, in aviation.
Mobility also continued to grow tremendously in the 21st century through new surroundings due to technological advances not only in transportation, but also in communication and information. In other words, we can note the relevance of technological resources as much in terms of objects as in services in the context of mobility. Thus, email, text messaging, MP3 players, portable DVD recorders, and online phone services, among others, transform the traditional outlines of people’s cultural lives in such a way that they can push past boundaries and adopt more fluid lifestyles. This lifestyle in motion is implicit in our ability to be in a different time and space than others. From this perspective, the false impression arises that non-mobile entities like borders, places, territories, landscapes, and the powers of a local elite, among others, do not make up part of the 21st century’s society, according to scholars Schiller and Salazar in 2013’s Regimes of Mobility Across the Globe, Sheller and Urry in 2006’s The New Mobilities Paradigm, and Cresswell in 2006’s On the Move.
As to what this says regarding international student mobility, Pinto, in her 2013 thesis Mobilité sociale et mobilité internationale d’étudiants étrangers: Trajectoires de jeunes professionnels chiliens et colombiens à Paris, New York et Boston (Social Mobility and International Mobility of Exchange Students), calls attention to the fact that mobility, whether individual or collective, inter- or intra-generational, is not an isolated phenomenon and occurs in a non-static social structure. The author reinforces that mobility is likewise related to historic transformations, as “classes are related to the evolution and development of society, considering the peculiarities of each period.”
As our society continues to become more specialized, current and future generations need higher levels of education to maintain their positions or climb the professional ladder. In other words, [student] mobility is a necessary calibration instrument for individual offers to a social demand.
CRESSWELL, T. On the Move: Mobility in the Modern Western World. London: Routledge, 2006.
PINTO, C. Thèse de doctorat de l’Úniversité Paris-Est. Sociologie. Mobilité sociale et mobilité internationale d’étudiants étrangers: Trajectoires de jeunes professionnels chiliens et colombiens à Paris, New York et Boston. 11/July/2013.
SCHILLER, N.G.; SALAZAR, N.B. Regimes of Mobility Across the Globe. Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, 39(2), Jan. 2013.
SHELLER M; URRY J (2006) The New Mobilities Paradigm. Environment and Planning A 38: 207–226.
Is The World Closing in on Itself?