Seeds of Cosmopolitan Future? Young People and Their Aspirations for Future Mobility

Zlatko Skrbis, Ian Woodward, Clive Bean

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Mobility across space is an exemplary characteristic of the global era and an important aspect of the cultural experience of many people in advanced industrialised nations. Mobility evokes powerful images that effectively counter any illusion of stationary life and provide a break from the insularity of the local and parochial. High levels of mobility are simultaneously a fact, a necessity and a cultural aspiration. In recent times, debates about mobility in social theory have considered the relationship between mobility and cosmopolitan culture and identities. Against this backdrop, this paper also draws on some of the more recent discussions about the emergence of globalised and cosmopolitan identities among young people. Using data from a longitudinal study of young people in Queensland, this paper provides an insight into young people's aspirations about future mobility. The data affirm Skeggs' comment that mobility is an unequal resource, and demonstrate that aspirations of future mobility reflect numerous social, economic and cultural realities of young people's lives. This inevitably leads us to problematise the established, and often abstract, nexus between cosmopolitanism and mobility in contemporary debates about cosmopolitanism.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Youth Studies
Issue number5
Pages (from-to)614-625
Publication statusPublished - May 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Mobility
  • young people
  • youth
  • Cosmopolitanism
  • Future
  • mobility
  • cosmopolitanism
  • aspirations


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