Networking communities: mobility, nationalism and the historical geographies of connective infrastructures


Principal Investigator: Dr Peter Merriman, Aberystwyth University
Co-investigators: Prof. Rhys Jones, Aberystwyth University
Duration: 2012

This project provides a synthetic review of how transport infrastructures and mobility practices have been seen to help and hinder the cohesion of local, regional, national and trans-national communities in different geographical, historical and cultural contexts. The main research review is in four sections, covering ‘Infrastructures, technologies, materialities’, ‘mobile practices’, ‘scales’, and ‘politics’. The review outlines the importance of both material infrastructures and mobile embodied practices in networking communities at different scales, as well as emphasising the plural and contested nature of communities. The report outlines the key findings of the scoping exercise on a future project to examine the role of transport infrastructures and mobility practices in networking Wales as a national community. As an integral part of the project a workshop was held at Aberystwyth University with a multi-disciplinary grouping of leading international scholars who have undertaken research on the past and present role of transport infrastructures and mobility practices in connecting communities. The findings of the research review and scoping exercise were presented at the workshop, and the presentations at the workshop have informed the final version of this report. Finally, the project outlines a series of recommendations for future research and outputs from this project.