Shock (Im)mobilities

Shock (Im)mobilities

Shock (im)mobilities are dramatic incidents of mobilities and immobility caused by acute disruptions and uncertainties. The COVID-19 pandemic, for instance, led to lockdowns of unprecedented scale, which, in turn, triggered panicked flights in many instances. The patterns, duration, density, demographic composition, and temporal dynamics of shock mobilities remain a black box in many cases.

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During the Covid-19 pandemic, Chinese citizens returning from abroad were popularly criticised as “delivering poison” to China. This narrative evaluates inbound mobility on its implications for public health and national strength, rather than the personal life of returnees. It is also a moralised discourse that encourages emotional attack instead of rational discussion about return. The paradigm of (un)seeing intrinsic to the “deliver poison” trope fostered widespread apathy and disregard for the plight of returnees caused by state-imposed travel restrictions between 2020 and 2022. The situation disheartened overseas Chinese and profoundly damaged social relations between diaspora and homeland.
Wanjing (Kelly) Chen
Published online 10 March 2023
In the wake of the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, many African students and other groups experienced shock mobility – panicked flight from the war zone – as well as shock immobility, as they were prevented from fleeing Ukraine due to racial discrimination.
Mengnjo Tardzenyuy Thomas
Published online 7 June 2022

Transit Camps at the Ukraine-Slovakian border show that there is great potential in the flexibility and scalar reach of civil society actors. Yet their integration into official structures comes with a number of inherent paradoxes. The challenges to ensure protection for people fleeing Ukraine lie in bridging gaps in knowledge, communication, and in the implementation of humanitarian standards.
Kathrin Fischer
Published online 19 May 2022

The ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine forced thousands of Indian medical students studying there to flee Ukraine, creating a transnational crisis. A crisis of this scale is illuminative as it visibilises the multiple forms of discrimination and violence circumscribing international educational mobility that usually remain obscure in ordinary settings.
Sanam Roohi
Published online 11 March 2022

To contain the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic in India, the states were forced to tighten their borders. Closure of land borders within India became an increasing concern and witnessed unprecedented levels of mobility restrictions for the migrants.
S. Irudaya Rajan, H. Arokkiaraj
Published online 15 July 2021

Despite its lax response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Brazil has imposed harsher mobility restrictions on Venezuelan migrants. International relations, mobility regulations, and public health policies are deeply intertwined.
Jáfia Naftali Câmara
Published online 29 June 2021

COVID-19 has propelled vital conversations about race and racism to the forefront of many societies. In Australia and Aotearoa-New Zealand, violence and discrimination against peoples of Asian descent has escalated during the pandemic. These increasing hostilities, alongside travel restrictions, will likely affect future mobilities between the regions.
Vidya Ramachandran
Published online 28 June 2021

Following the COVID-19 outbreak, Turkey closed its borders and implemented stay-at-home measures, disproportionally impacting the livelihoods of daily-wage workers, seasonal workers, and refugees and asylum seekers in the informal sector.
Esra Demirkol
Published online 23 June 2021

Indian government launched an unprecedented repatriation programme during the Covid pandemic and has brought nearly 4 million overseas Indian citizens home as of mid December 2020.
S. Irudaya Rajan, H. Arokkiaraj
Published online 10 June 2021

Brazil and Paraguay’s widely different approaches to handling the COVID-19 pandemic led to humanitarian tensions at the border. When Paraguayans attempted to return to their country across the Ponte da Amizade, they were denied entry through closed borders and became stuck for days, ‘living’ on the international bridge.
Jáfia Naftali Câmara
Published online 3 June 2021

In March 2020 the Russian government introduced quarantine measures, suspended non-essential business activities, and closed borders. Hundreds of Central Asian migrant workers who headed home were stranded at the Russian-Kazakh border.
Nurlan Muminov
Published online 25 May 2021

The Kuwaiti government offers amnesty to undocumented workers in order for them to return to their home countries, but provides insufficient facilities for those waiting to return. The slowness of response from the Indian government prolongs the migrants’ plight.
S. Irudaya Rajan, H. Arokkiaraj
Published online 12 May 2021

With COVID-19 restrictions hampering the mobility of humanitarian workers and emergency aid, Cyclone Harold and Super-cyclone Amphan have shown the importance of local coordination and training in order to build sustainable community resilience to natural disasters.
Will Jernigan
Published online 11 May 2021

Border restrictions introduced in response to the pandemic have complicated citizens’ abilities to depart from, and return to, their countries of nationality.
Vidya Ramachandran
Published online 6 May 2021

Constraints on public transport during the COVID-19 pandemic pushed many urban residents to travel in overcrowded vehicles, and even take to clandestine means.
Jáfia Naftali Câmara
Published online 30 April 2021

After the African Leadership University closed because of the COVID-19 pandemic and classes resumed online, students reported gendered differences in the family expectations and assignation of domestic duties that disproportionately affected female students.
Chiedza Mutsaka Skyum
Published online 28 April 2021

Shock mobilities are sudden human movements in response to acute disruptions. They can be short lived, but may have long lasting impacts.
Biao Xiang
Published online 22 March 2021
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