Dean of The Global School, Mimi Sheller, publishes articles on sustainable tourism, mobility justice and climate migration


The Global School

Dean of The Global School, Mimi Sheller, has published several new articles in mobilities research, a field that she helped to establish.

Sheller’s article “Tourism at End of the World: Places to Play as Kinopolitical Constellations” has been published in a special issue of Tourism Geographies (June 2024) focusing on tourism geopolitics. In the article Sheller reflects on the research contributions and themes in this issue through a discussion of the geopolitical and “kinopolitical” dimensions of tourist places, performances, and placemaking. The article builds on her 2004 book with sociologist John Urry, Tourism Mobilities: Place to Play, Places in Play.

This commentary reflects on the geopolitical and the kinopolitical intersections of tourist places, performances, and placemaking. All tourism can be said to be geopolitical, as well as kinopolitical. Tourism involves uneven relations of (im)mobilities that are shaped by and shaping of state power, state borders, national identities, and political alliance and conflicts. Geopolitical relations affect who can ‘play’ at being a tourist, where they can play, and how places rise and fall in the geopolitical theatre of desirability, security, and affordability for different types of tourism. Kinopolitical relations affect how these relations play out in actual places and embodied performances. The current inequalities of the global economy foster geopolitically uneven tourism constellations, with crucial societal and ecological impacts that are the core question of the future of tourism within a system of kino-geopolitics.


Sheller has for many years been the co-editor of the journal Transfers: International Journal of Mobility Studies, which has published a special section on the legacy of sociologist of mobilities John Urry, with whom Sheller co-founded and co-directed the Centre for Mobilities Research (CeMoRe) at Lancaster University, U.K. Sheller’s article for the issue,  titled “Pluralizing Mobilities Theory for Post-Carbon Futures and Social Justice” is based on her keynote address to celebrate the 20th anniversary of CeMoRe in July 2023.

This article puts John Urry's thought on the mobilities turn into conversation with Caribbean critical theory, which was in fact the starting point for my collaborations with Urry on the new mobilities paradigm twenty or more years ago. It describes the relation between my work on the Caribbean and the emergence of the new mobilities paradigm at Lancaster University between about 1999 and 2006. Then it considers the influence of Urry's work on thinking more widely about climate mobilities and carbon form. Finally, it seeks to “pluralize” mobilities research by showing how decolonial and indigenous critiques of the ongoing relations between mobility/immobility, energy production/consumption, and the “coloniality of climate” are necessary to dismantle the powerful racialized mobility regimes that work in the interest of kinetic elites.


Sheller was invited to contribute a chapter on the topic of “Im/mobilities” to a Spanish publication Claves de politica global (Arpa, 2024) under the editorial direction of Carlos Corrochano, responsible for international policy for the Vice-President of the Spanish Government, and other colleagues in the critical theory of International Relations at SciencesPo in Paris, France. 

This project involved the creation of a glossary of keywords on international politics and the current global context, approached from a critical and transformative perspective. The objectives are twofold: firstly, to explore the need for a new international policy within the progressive space, encompassing its heterogeneity, plurality, and situatedness; secondly, to initiate a process of reimagining the global landscape and the necessary alliances to construct a more egalitarian and just world.


Sheller contributed a chapter on climate migration and mobility justice, with co-author Andreas Neef, who is Dean (Research) for the Arts, Education and Law Group and Professor of Global Development at Griffith University, Brisbane, Australia. The piece reflects their collaboration on a related chapter titled “Towards Climate Mobility Justice: From Climate Debt to Climate Reparations and a Welcoming Culture for Climate Migrants,” which appeared in the De Gruyter Handbook of Climate Migration and Climate Mobility Justice edited by Andreas Neef, Natasha Pauli and Bukola Salami (De Gruyter, 2024).