Geographica Helvetica (Jun 2021)

Staying and immobility: new concepts in population geography? A literature review

  • E. Gruber

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 76
pp. 275 – 284


Read online

Immobile populations have received academic attention in recent years, following a period of focus on hypermobility and increasing migration as the main research interest. This article analyses the existing stock of literature on the topics of “immobilities” and “staying” to give insight into the importance of these concepts for rethinking contemporary population geography. It considers texts dealing with voluntary and involuntary types of immobility, as well as reasons for and factors influencing the increased observed immobility in the context of internal migration. Common theoretical frameworks used to explain immobilities and consequences for increasingly rooted societies are discussed. The paper also presents open research questions for future research. It draws the conclusion that staying and immobility are meaningful concepts for future research in the context of population and human geography, since they introduce a new perspective for research dedicated to spatial living patterns of populations. These concepts furthermore highlight the importance of different types and forms of (im)mobilities, the interconnectedness of mobile and immobile populations, and changes in aspirations and capabilities of life-course decision-making over time.