Ethnic differences in spatial mobility during national and public holidays

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The motives of individual’s spatial mobility can vary across a wide range of goals and are not only determined by work or educational reasons. As stated in the literature, individual’s daily mobility can be described by the concept of activity space, consisting of important nodal points of mandatory activities such as home, working place, daily services and recreational places. Now, time-geography framework takes into consideration also the temporal dimension, which enables to distinguish the activities and places that are routine and “non-routine”. The latter has been studied less mainly due to lack of appropriate data – occurrence of these out-of-routine trips will be evident only in long-term datasets. In terms of daily routine, holidays can be considered as irregular days. According to the literature, spatial mobility during holidays is different compared with routine spatial mobility. People tend to make longer trips in order to visit their relatives or to perform recreational activities. Different scholars admit that national holidays can be a complex instrument of social integration and an arena for expressing understandings to the nation. The reflections of different norms, traditions and social networks can be found in the movement patterns of social groups during holidays. Also, there are fewer constraints that affect people’s spatial mobility during holidays compared to regular days, therefore, the decisions made about travel depend more on people’s personal background.
The focus of this paper is on the ethnic differences in spatial behaviour during public and national holidays – an aspect that has been yet remained unobserved in terms of ethnic segregation. Current study observes the movements of 12 500 people (6250 Russian and 6250 Estonian-speaking) during 48 months using call detail records of mobile phones in Estonia. The aim is to find out how different is the majority’s and minority’s spatial mobility during irregular days – holidays. This topic is necessary for understanding the cultural and religious factors that affect ethnic groups’ spatial mobility, thereby helping to discover the unknown aspects of inter-ethnic contact networks and leisure time ethnic segregation.
We use the dissimilarity index and regression models in order to capture the unevenness of ethnic group’s members’ distribution and spatial mobility during regular and irregular days. The preliminary results show that the greatest differences occurred on Christmas, Midsummer Day and New Year’s Eve. Also, the results indicate that Estonian-speakers are more widely distributed in Estonia during holidays compared to Russian-speakers.

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