Between fixities and flows: Navigating place attachments in an increasingly mobile world

This paper develops a theoretical argument for how place attachments are forged and become dynamically linked to increasingly common mobility practices.

In recent years the literature has given increased attention to the role of people-place bonds in various realms of mobility. These lines of research add to previous studies addressing the changing, evolving and processual nature of place attachment as an experience forged in the interplay between fixity and mobility.

The purpose of this paper is to provide a rationale and conceptual framework for research on place attachment that attends to more fluid experiences of place endemic to a mobile world.

First, we argue that mobilities, rather than negating the importance of place, shift our understanding of place and the habitual ways we relate to and bond with places as distinct from a conception of place attachment premised on fixity and stability. Second, we document how the body of research on place attachment has both reinforced and contested ‘sedentaristic’ assumptions criticized within the so-called ‘mobilities turn’ in the social sciences. Third, we present a conceptual framework, built around different modes of interrelation between fixity and flow, as a way to re-theorize, link and balance the various studies of place attachment that have grappled with mobility.

Finally, we conclude by highlighting the implications of the ‘fixity to flow’ framework for place attachment theory and practice, delineating the continued relevance of place attachment when studying mobility dynamics.

Di Masso, A., Williams, D., Raymond, C., Buchecker, M., Degenhardt, B., Devine-Wright, P., Hertzog, A., (…); Wirth, T. von (2019). Between Fixities and Flows: Navigating Place Attachments in an Increasingly Mobile World. Journal of Environmental Psychology 61, 125–33.

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maart 3, 2019