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Spatial structures of student mobility: Social, economic and ethnic ‘geometries of power’

Donnelly, Michael; Gamsu, Sol

Spatial structures of student mobility: Social, economic and ethnic ‘geometries of power’ Thumbnail


Michael Donnelly


There now exists a growing literature on educational mobilities, and this paper contributes to understanding the way contemporary youth imagine the geography of the UK and how this translates to their mobility intentions. Using Giddens and Massey, and drawing on a unique multi-sited data-set, we examine how these flows can be understood as embedded within narratives of the self that are situated within a particular spatial structuring of social, economic and ethnic difference. The multi-sited data-set drawn on here provides a unique opportunity to see the simultaneity of these social relations across space, mutually shaping and re-shaping each other over time. We illustrate how embedded within imagined mobility narratives are deeply unequal structures of economic power, (re)producing oppressed and dominant positions across social and geographic space. Geometries of race and ethnicity are also shown to structure the ways in which different ethnic groups look upon the geography of their university choices. The patterning of these imagined spatial flows around the UK at the point of university entry can be interpreted as one further manifestation of deep-seated geometries of power that pervade social life.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Oct 30, 2019
Online Publication Date Dec 18, 2019
Publication Date Apr 30, 2020
Deposit Date Nov 4, 2019
Publicly Available Date Jan 7, 2020
Journal Population, Space and Place
Print ISSN 1544-8444
Publisher Wiley
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 26
Issue 3
Article Number e2293
Public URL


Published Journal Article (Advance online version) (4.7 Mb)

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Copyright Statement
Advance online version © 2019 The Authors. Population, Space and Place published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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