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Social exclusion, mobility and access.

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article


Journal publication date29/07/2005
JournalThe Sociological Review
Number of pages17
Original languageEnglish


Much of the literature on social exclusion ignores its 'spatial' or 'mobility' related aspects. This paper seeks to rectify this by examining the mobile processes and infrastructures of travel and transport that engender and reinforce social exclusion in contemporary societies. To the extent to which this issue is addressed, it is mainly organized around the notion of 'access' to activities, values and goods. This paper examines this discourse in some detail. It is argued that there are many dimensions of such access, that improving access is a complex matter because of the range of human activities that might need to be 'accessed', that in order to know what is to be accessed the changing nature of travel and communications requires examination, and that some dimensions of access are only revealed through changes in the infrastructure that 'uncover' previously hidden social exclusions. Claims about access and socio-spatial exclusion routinely make assumptions about what it is to participate effectively in society. We turn this question around, also asking how mobilities of different forms constitute societal values and sets of relations, participation in which may become important for social inclusion. This paper draws upon an extensive range of library, desk and field research to deal with crucial issues relating to the nature of a fair, just and mobile society.