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Whitehouse-Hart, J. (2011). MOBILE LIVES: Anthony Elliott and John Urry, Routledge, 188 pp, £25.99 (pbk) ISBN: 0-415-48020-5 (hbk); 0-415-48022-1 (pbk), 0-203-88704-2 (ebk) Published 2010. Free Associations, 12(2):188-192.

(2011). Free Associations, 12(2):188-192

Book Review

MOBILE LIVES: Anthony Elliott and John Urry, Routledge, 188 pp, £25.99 (pbk) ISBN: 0-415-48020-5 (hbk); 0-415-48022-1 (pbk), 0-203-88704-2 (ebk) Published 2010

Review by:
JO Whitehouse-Hart

According to Anthony Elliott and John Urry, everyday life in the twenty-first century is characterised by new forms of mobility. Complex travel systems and rapid development of digital technologies are features of globalisation that have been previously articulated in Urry's work Mobilities (Urry, 2007). Mobile Lives is a book of seven chapters written in an erudite but highly accessible style, providing rich description of twenty-first century mobile lives and culminating in a concluding chapter and afterword which adopts a speculative and creative but also reasoned assessment of possible post-carbon rather than post-modern futures. The material brought together in this volume demonstrates the success of the authors' assertion that the mobilities paradigm can be extended to analyse the formation of identity and the experience of everyday life.

The discussion engages with some of the biggest names in social theory over recent years: Anthony Giddens, Ulrich Beck, Zygmunt Bauman and Pierrre Bourdieu. Focusing on identity and personal relationships, the authors argue that Giddens et al. miss the fact that individualised, gendered, reflexive identities are also ‘mobile in relationship (sic) to conceptions of the self, to others and the social world’ (Elliott and Urry, 2010: 96). Emotional, intimate and also professional relationships are increasingly practiced at a distance; work often demands travel, forcing people into ‘distance relationships’ (Elliott and Urry, 2010: 85).

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