Vital mobilities: Circulating blood via fictionalized vignettes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


How do we move things when it really matters? Drawn from research encounters, this article traces the journey of blood from donor to recipient through nine fictionalized vignettes interwoven throughout the article. This article makes two key contributions. First, by using blood as both exemplar and metaphor, this article experiments with fictionalized vignettes to illustrate the ‘non-visible . . . non-obvious . . . non-verbal’ vein-to-vein journey entailed in blood donation as a vital mobility. Blood supply chains rely upon and constitute complex and geographically expansive infrastructure circuits. Blood has a societal circulation and can be described as hemosocial. Second, it introduces and theorizes the concept of vital mobilities, extending Adey’s work on emergency mobilities. I distinguish vital mobilities in two ways: they are non-optional material and/or energetic movements that safeguard life, and they constitute ongoing circuits of care that can be ramped up in case of wide-spread crisis, and are also required in everyday contexts. Overall, this article contributes to cultural geography by demonstrating how non-traditional qualitative methods can effectively be used to represent and communicate dynamic temporalities, spatialities and rhythms of vital mobilities such as blood.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)109-125
JournalCultural Geographies
Issue number1
Early online date6 Aug 2018
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2019

Research Beacons, Institutes and Platforms

  • Humanitarian and Conflict Response Institute


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