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Moving Matters: People, Goods, Power and Ideas

Moving Matters: People, Goods, Power and Ideas


The social consequences of the mobility of people and goods are the central focus of the Moving Matters programme group. We explore migrating people and moving commodities as well as the shifting networks - of solidarity, remittances, knowledge, meaning and power - that result from such practices. These networks may range from the local to the transnational. The approach is sociological and anthropological, with an emphasis on the historical dimension. We are interested in drawing comparisons between cases, periods and networks as well as in analysing relationships at large distances (so-called ‘teleconnections'). We study how mobility and immobility are mediated by constantly changing power relations. Methodologically, we favour fieldwork and an immersion of the researcher in the researched community, locality or network.

The scope of this programme group is global in response to an urgent need to push social-science theorisation beyond the dominance of European and North American area studies. Our research expertise is concentrated in a variety of societies in Asia, Latin America and Africa, though the group welcomes scholars working on social consequences of the increased mobility of people, goods and ideas anywhere in the world.

Examples of specific projects are illegal but licit flows, the effects of remittances on migrants' regions of origin and commodity chains, hegemonic discourses of modernism and development, the formation of states and civil societies, the role of popular intellectuals and social movements.

Programme leaders

dr. C.H. (Tina) Harris

Tina Harris

dr. G. (Gerben) Nooteboom MSc

Gerben Nooteboom