(Im)Mobilities: From Dichotomy to Continuum

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This article suggests that a partial contradiction between mobility and immobility was true for prepandemic physical mobility only and that, currently, the distinction between mobile and immobile individuals has turned fully relational. Fixity constitutes a voluntary condition, whereas immobility is perceived as an imposed one. The major dimensions for physical immobility are restraints for work and travel. Digital–virtual immobility can be measured via network capital, which includes access to networks and communications, leading to location-free information. Mobile communications are now globally ubiquitous, so that absolute digital immobility is currently almost nonexistent, thus turning digital (im)mobility into a continuum. Coronavirus lockdowns restricted individuals’ physical mobility for commuting and other travel while turning physical immobility into a medical benefit, whereas being physically mobile involved risk. Lockdowns further involved “immobile mobility,” with people being highly engaged in digital mobilities while being simultaneously situated in physical immobility. Once physical mobility is fully restored, individuals might prefer some partial and rather voluntary physical immobilities because of coronavirus habitual changes, for both work and travel, coupled with semi-imposed physical immobilities by employers. Thus, physical immobility might gain also a positive connotation, side by side with digital (im)mobility still being a continuum.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)246-253
Number of pages8
JournalProfessional Geographer
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 by American Association of Geographers.


  • coronavirus
  • fixity
  • immobility
  • mobility
  • post-coronavirus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Earth-Surface Processes


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