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How normal is travelling abroad? Differences in transnational mobility between groups of young Swedes.

Artikel i vetenskaplig tidskrift
Författare Lotta Frändberg
Publicerad i Environment and Planning A
Volym 41
Nummer/häfte 3
Sidor 649-667
Publiceringsår 2009
Publicerad vid Institutionen för kulturgeografi och ekonomisk geografi
Sidor 649-667
Språk en
Ämnesord transnational, mobility, youth, differentiation, Sweden
Ämneskategorier Samhällsvetenskap


Travel across national borders is growing rapidly as a consequence of greater ease and access to fast means of transport, but also due to the reorganization of society and stretching of social relations over large distances. Much recent writing on transnational mobility has argued that long-distance travel is increasingly a normal and sometimes necessary part of ordinary life for many people in richer countries. This article investigates differences in the extent of transnational mobility between groups of Swedish youth with different socio-economic and ethnic backgrounds. The study includes eight groups (162 individuals) of students in the last year of senior secondary school (16-19 years old). Comparisons are based on the respondents’ mobility biographies – information about all trips abroad taken during childhood and adolescence. One important finding of the study is the very large difference in transnational mobility − in particular aeromobility − between the most mobile group and the other groups. Those in the most mobile group attend a privately run school in a central, urban location; the majority of students in this group have at least one parent in a managerial position. The study also finds that there is a substantial difference in transnational mobility between youth living in an urban versus rural environment. Taken together, the results confirm the idea of transnational mobility as a critical, differentiating factor between youth in a northern European context. Furthermore, the results presented here do not assign transnational social relations a prominent role in shaping the distribution of mobility between social groups in Swedish society. Of overwhelming importance in this respect is the extent to which holiday leisure travel is available and prioritized.

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