Show Summary Details
Restricted access

Alterpolitics or alterotopies: A critique of nomadology with reference to West African Fulbe

Riccardo Ciavolella

Keywords: EMANCIPATION; NOMADISM; POLITICS; RESISTANCE; SPACE

Abstract

This article offers a critique of how the anthropology of pastoral nomadic societies participates in the debate about alternative forms of political organization and emancipation. In the first part, I retrace the roots of the reciprocal and circular influence between anthropology and critical theory, focusing on Deleuze and Guattari's “nomadology” and their reliance on ethnographies of “primitive” and especially nomadic people. Attracted by the spatial autonomy and immanent forms of resistance of nomads, their work nourished the poststructuralist interpretation of power, which in turn influenced contemporary radical political anthropologists. In the second part, I reintroduce ethnographic evidence on pastoral nomads into the discussion. Relying on recent ethnographic evidence of the crisis of nomadism, especially in West Africa, I argue that we should be more prudent in considering interstitial spaces of freedom and resistances as strategies for structurally changing power and for emancipation.

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or log in to access all content.