Topic: Institute of Regional Studies Centre for Economic and Regional Studies, Hungarian Academy of Sciences
Keywords: selectivity of (im)mobilities, mobility aspirations and capabilities, residential decisions, social and spatial inequalities
For some people living in disadvantaged rural regions, mobility/migration has been a means to overcome social and spatial inequalities. However, research on rural outmigration highlights the selectivity of mobility movements which reinforces inequalities both at national (between rural and urban areas) and global level (between ‘developed’ and ‘developing’ countries). Based on empirical evidence collected in a Hungarian rural small town, the presentation aims to discuss the selectivity of rural (im)mobility within the conceptual framework of mobility (migration) capabilities and aspirations.
In order to provide a better understanding of the interplay between inequalities and (im)mobilities, my presentation aims to go beyond residential decisions made by individuals and families. The access to economic, human, cultural and social capital (capability) as well as perceptions and images of achievable well-being in terms of living conditions, safety, and mobility prospects (aspiration) at home or somewhere else influence decisions about leaving or staying. Both, mobility capabilities and aspirations are unequally distributed within (local) societies along class position, ethnicity, gender and age. However, the connection between aspirations, capabilities and residential decisions is anything but linear. People living in deep poverty and without any access to economic, human and cultural capital become mobile by only relying on their strong family networks, while others are capable to leave but do not do so because of their attachment to familiar spaces.
Through the analysis of semi-structured interviews conducted with local residents from different class position, gender and age, the presentation will focus on the question of how unequal redistribution of mobility capabilities and aspirations affects residential decisions and the way these decisions strengthen or weaken social and spatial inequalities.