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ATLAS Special Interest Group
Space, Place, Mobilities in Tourism

27 - 28 May, 2021
Padova, Italy

Social Mobility Goes on Holiday: Tourist Im|mobilities, Conflicts and Empowerment







Due to the evolving pandemic situation, the meeting will be moved online. The fees will be revised

The deadline for abstract submission has been extended to 22 March, 2021



In the Social Sciences and the Humanities, the meaning of mobility is twofold. On one side, it addresses the movement of an individual or a group between social positions depending upon their economic, cultural or social capital. On the other, the term, in plural, refers to a major turn of the 2000s related to the physical movement of people, artefacts, commodities and ideas as a key dimension not only characterising present societies but also representing the epistemologies and the methodologies of the SSHs (Cresswell, 2006; Hannam, Sheller, & Urry, 2006; Sheller & Urry, 2006). Indeed, the rapid expansion of tourism, the variety of forms it takes, its transcultural agency and its role in defining the ordinary life of places have all contributed to the so-called mobilities turn (Hannam, 2008; Sheller & Urry, 2004).

The global pandemic that emerged at the beginning of 2020 has had a direct impact on the politics of tourism mobilities—their rhythms, routes, directions and feelings. Old and new im|mobilities are now confronted, exacerbated, or mixed up, bringing us to a new stage in the nexus between social and spatial mobility. Following Mimi Sheller’s recent call for ‘mobility justice’, which entails rethinking the reality that tourists and other elites are able to roam freely, while migrants and those most in need are abandoned and imprisoned at borders (Sheller, 2018), the 3rd International Seminar of Space, Place and Mobilities in Tourism SIG urges us to revisit the intersection of social and physical mobilities in and through tourism performances.

Considered from a diachronic perspective, tourism has always been ambiguous in terms of socio-spatial mobility. If observed at the macro level, tourism can be considered a powerful regional economic driver but also as a sector characterised by low-paying jobs with minimal requirements in terms of qualifications. Tourism is an all-encompassing consumer domain supporting the dispossession of socially fragile residents, which also massively impacts the environment. Observed from a closer point of view, however, it cannot be denied that having access to tourism represents a way to merge mental and physical well-being with cross-cultural encounters to the benefit of a larger strata of population than ever before. In addition, the labour geographies of tourism provide opportunities for better working conditions for some as well as opportunities for creative ways to rethink the human-environment nexus that strive for cultural inclusion, social innovation or even political activism.

The crossing point of social and physical mobility in tourism enacts a variety of inequalities as well as redistributive and generative paradoxes that may be worsened or even challenged by disruptive events and that directly impact our collective ability to move or not across the globe. The 3rd International Seminar of Space, Place and Mobilities in Tourism SIG aims to confront this issue by bringing together geographic, historical, anthropological and sociological perspectives on how tourist spaces are (in the present) and were (in the past) entangled with both exclusionary and inclusionary dynamics, resulting in both social conflicts and empowerment.

Key Themes:

  • Tourism and travel as mobile concepts in space and time
  • Ideologies of tourism and social mobility
  • Unexpected and productive frictions on the ground of tourism
  • Gender, intersectionality and tourism mobilities
  • Mobile spaces of colonialism, neocolonialism and postcolonialism in tourism
  • Tourism performances challenging social boundaries
  • Social and cultural distinction enacted through tourism mobilities
  • Connections between tourism and migration and their paradoxes
  • Social mobility and economic empowerment in the tourism sector
  • Informal, uneven and irregular mobilities in tourism
  • Inclusive and exclusive tourism ‘mobile’ imaginaries
  • The socio-environmental impacts of tourism mobilities
  • Tourism im|mobilities during and after the COVID-19 global pandemic




Keynote speakers

  • Stroma Cole, University of Westminster, Design, Creative and Digital Industries College, UK
  • Diane P. Koenker, University College London, School of Slavonic and East European Studies, UK
  • Marco d'Eramo, social theorist and journalist, author of The World in a Selfie (Verso, 2021)

May 27th 2021, 15.00 (CEST)
Perception of the World, Freedom and Tourism in the Age of Human Mobility
Marco D’Eramo, social theorist and journalist

May 28th 2021, 9.00 (CEST)
Tourism, Gender, Social (Im)mobility and Empowerment
Stroma Cole, University of Westminster

May 28th 2021, 15.00 (CEST)
The Paradox of Soviet Tourism: Pleasure Travel in the Passport State
Diane P. Koenker, University College London

The keynotes speeches are free to attend for everyone. Please register for these keynote speeched by using this link:



Abstract submission

All abstracts will be subject to double-blind review by members of the scientific committee. Acceptance of a submission will be based on: theoretical and empirical significance; methodological soundness; relevance to the theme of the conference and logical clarity. The official language of the conference is English.

Abstracts should indicate background, theoretical/practical implications, methods and/or data sources and indicative findings of the paper. Abstracts should be between 350-500 words. The title should be no more than 12 words. Authors should also indicate which conference topic their proposed paper relates to.

Please submit your abstract by using this form, befor March 22nd 2021.


Important dates

Abstract submission : 8 March, 2021
22 March, 2021
Notification of acceptance : 27 March, 2021
1 April 2021
Registration open : March 27th, 2021
Registration closed   May 14th, 2021
Confirmation about meeting format : April 5th, 2021
Meeting : May 27 and 28th, 2021


Scientific committee

Local organizing committee

  • Chiara Rabbiosi, Università di Padova, Italy
  • Federica Letizia Cavallo, Università Ca’ Foscari Venezia, Italy
  • Antonio Paolo Russo, Universitat Rovira i Virgili, Tarragona, Spain

International Scientific Committee

  • Paola Minoia – University of Turin, Italy
  • Benedetta Castiglioni – University of Padova, Italy
  • Szilvia Gyimothy – Copenhagen Business School, Denmark
  • Dimitri Ioannides – Mid-Sweden University, Sweden
  • Patrizia Battilani – University of Bologna, Italy



Conference packages


Packages: ATLAS members Non-Members
Participants  FREE
€ 30
Students FREE
Certificate € 15
€ 15





  • Contact
    Please contact: e-mail
  • Registration
    Submit this form to register for the conference.
  • Abstract submission form
    Submit this form to submit an abstract for the conference.


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