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Afterword

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Abstract

As someone situated on the margins of John Urry’s life and work until I underwent my own '(auto)mobilities turn’ in the early 2000s, I was deeply honoured - and, at first, somewhat surprised and overawed - by the invitation to contribute an Afterword to this landmark book. However, when the editors reminded me that I’d known John for the 26 years I’ve been employed by Lancaster University and was - as someone based in English - well positioned to reflect upon the impressive interdisciplinary reach of his work, I accepted, and am very glad I did so. Taken together, the 32 chapters which comprise this volume represent a beautifully rounded and heartfelt tribute to a towering figure in the academic world: not only do they capture the breadth of John’s scholarship, but also his legendary support to multiple generations of postgraduates and early-career scholars, myself included. For, with one or two exceptions, the majority of the authors represented here have been encouraged and mentored by John Urry at some point in their careers - either as doctoral students or co-authors (or both) - and their subsequent development as academics clearly owes a huge amount to John’s very distinctive brand of leadership. Regardless of the fact that he was such a distinguished academic, both within the social sciences and beyond, John engaged with absolutely everyone he came into contact with as an equal, and - with colleagues - was expert in drawing out what was original and significant in their work. Indeed, it was arguably his eye for seeds of originality in others’ work that led him to collaborate with so many of them, also ensuring that there is now a vast library of ‘Urry books’ for us to remember him by.