Mobile North

The research group “Mobile North” brings together researchers at different career stages at the University of Oulu who explore questions related to migration and (human) mobility, as well as inequalities inherently linked with these movements taking place across various spatial and temporal scales.

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Research group description

Researchers involved in the interdisciplinary group “Mobile North” are interested in the ways in which migration and mobility have shaped societies and communities as well as individual and family lives today and in the past. The scales of study vary from local, everyday environments to transnational phenomena. The group is open to all disciplines, such as history, gender studies, educational sciences, sociology, social psychology, cultural anthropology, geography, and language and literature studies.

Many scholars in the group take inspiration from critical fields of inquiry such as feminist studies, critical race theory, and postcolonial and decolonial studies. Gender, together with other axes of difference and power, such as race, class, age, and sexuality, fundamentally shape im/mobile lives locally and globally. We also encourage researchers to stay attuned to the power relations ingrained in their research and critically reflect on knowledge production practices in their fields of study.

Accordingly, we particularly promote research and dialogue that bring out how migration and mobility are entwined with questions of power. Mobility can be seen as a resource unevenly distributed in society: people have an unequal access to mobility, and mobility also creates inequalities. Thus, we highlight that along with the focus on movement and mobility, it is also important to consider the conditions of immobility and stasis, which often frame the experiences of forced migration. Human mobility is constrained by actors and migration regimes that attempt to enforce temporary or permanent fixity on people on the move.

While staying attuned to the repressive aspects of the past and present migration regimes, we also highlight migrants’ and minorities’ agency within the local, national, and global power structures - their lived experiences and acts of resistance connected with migration and mobility.

Finally, we also take inspiration from the recent critical perspectives towards migration studies that challenge some of the premises of the field of study. For example, in order to combat the migration scholars’ tendency to consider migration- and ethnicity-based differences as the ones that primarily matter in society, Dahinden (2016) proposes that researchers ought to change the object of study from migrant or ethnic groups to the overall population. This critique is taken as the starting point, for example, in the research consortium Mobile Futures, where the affiliated researchers study integration as a trust-based, two-way process and aim to identify and combat structural discrimination and racism in different societal spheres.

Several scholars in the group also collaborate with UNIC, the European University of Post-Industrial Cities.

If you wish to become affiliated with the group, please contact us at mobilenorth(at)