-by Catarina Sales Oliveira, University of Beira Interior, Portugal
In this last weekend the prime minister António Costa, has forbidden weekend dislocations in Portugal. Until now there was no surveillance over people dislocations. But with the Easter as a mean to avoid the typical weekend or vacation mobility of this time of year.
Since the emergency state declaration that people could leave home just for a group of restricted reasons, like buying essential goods, provide support for vulnerable persons, walk dogs or exercise for a short period.
But it is notorious – visible not only social communication the news and stories of but also at short glance in my own village, that people are tending to use this reasons in an “extended” way: newspapers say that never dogs were so walked, the police had to do a stop operation yesterday in Lisbon’ south exit as it was highly congested in the sunny afternoon, and the exits of the elderly are getting a major problem (Pinto & Pimenta 2020).
No doubt there are a panoply of reasons for this: fear of isolation in the case of the elderly and people that are alone at home; resistance to authority, lack of confidence in the institutions (Torcal 2014), not forgetting media manipulation effects (Hanjoo 2009). But for sure one of the reasons is also the difficulty in being confined for so long. And it is this reason that is provoking my mobilities oriented mind: after decades of living in a hypermobile society and deeply used to it’s glamour (Cohen & Gössling, 2015) how hard it can be to adapt to this new forced lifestyle?
This situation has created a perfect social laboratory for mobility: with people and countries being forced to stay still, we can experimentally see the reactions, resistances, strategies to adapt to immobility and eventually measure the real importance of mobility for current society.
Cohen, S.A. & Gössling, S. (2015). A darker side of hypermobility. Environment and Planning A, 47, 1661-1679
Hanjoon Michael Jung (2009) Information Manipulation Through the Media, Journal of Media Economics, 22:4, 188-210, DOI: 10.1080/08997760903375886
Pinto, Mariana C. and Pimenta, Paulo 2020 “Não quero morrer da doença, mas também não quero morrer de solidão”, Público online (30 march 2020 6.50) retrived from https://www.publico.pt/2020/03/30/local/reportagem/nao-quero-morrer-doenca-tambem-nao-quero-morrer-solidao-1909946
Torcal, Mariano (2014). The decline of political trust in Spain and Portugal: economic performance or political responsiveness?. American Behavioral Scientist, 58(12), 1542-1567.