The mobilities, immobilities and moorings of work-life on cargo ships

Maria Borovnik


Despite the rather obvious mobilities of cargo ships there are not so obvious immobilities. Both are negotiated through global economic processes, the (ir)regular and repetitive processes of ships crisscrossing international waters and encountering ports of differing nation states, and the agency of people involved in these processes. This paper argues that so called fixities within a mobilities approach do not only enable mobile processes, as assumed widely within mobilities research, but that mobilities also can become immobilising. The circumstances of these immobilising dynamics are linked with neoliberal processes within the shipping industry, the need for increased border security, and the need for workers from developing countries to compromise their employment conditions. In contrast to these paralysing factors this paper also discusses the enabling and anchoring mooring processes by linking these to a positive view on social construction of place.


mobilities, moorings, shipping, seafarers

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