Using Mobility to Gain Stability: Rural Household Strategies and Outcomes in Long-distance Labour Mobility


  • Deatra E Walsh York University


Current rural studies literature is making the call for more attention to mobilities as a means to understand contemporary rurality. Mobility, envisioned broadly and inclusive of the movement of people, things and ideas, promises to position rural communities in a more active stance, rather than passive, reactive, and in receivership. Contextualized within a larger research project of 37 young women (aged 25-34) living in a rural area of central Newfoundland, Canada, and drawing specifically upon the narratives of nine return migrants with partners who engage in long-distance labour mobility, I explore how mobility is a mechanism through which these women, and their households, achieve both economic and familial stability. My research contributes to a theoretical understanding of mobility that is inclusive of, rather than juxtaposed to, stability. It also contributes to the literature on long-distance labour mobility suggesting that it is not necessarily detrimental to family life. I argue that a household mobility perspective reduces the notion of static rural society and raises new considerations for rural futures. Policy implications for a mobilities perspective are briefly discussed. Keywords: Mobility, stability, long-distance, Newfoundland, women

Author Biography

Deatra E Walsh, York University

Deatra Walsh is a postdoctoral research fellow at York University. Her areas of specialization are labour mobility, migration and precarious employment. Dr. Walsh holds a PhD from Memorial University.