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.
A critique of nomadology with reference to West African Fulbe
Aref Abu-Rabia, Salman Elbedour and Sandra Scham
The continuing practice of polygynous marriage on the part of the Bedouin of the Negev in Israel is generally seen as resistance to modernity for the sake of maintaining semi-nomadic ways of life. By this logic, the numerous anthropological studies that have shown that polygyny is more widespread among older generations (particularly among men of means) can be explained. In Israel, however, there is an added factor of modernity as enforced by the state and its alien Western values. Recent studies of the Bedouin in Israel have found that polygyny is on the increase among all age groups, regardless of their socio-economic status. This article addresses this seemingly surprising finding, discussing some of the main social and political motivations that underlie the growing prevalence of polygyny as exhibited by the Bedouin in Israel.
Translator : Tatiana Argounova-Low
of the ancient religious beliefs of the Yakut who inherited the steppe nomadism” (Archives of the Yakut Scientific Center [AYSC] 1-12a-28). Ekaterina Romanova opines that an ancient Turkic tradition at the start of the summer to pray to the deities
Mbororo Nomads Facing and Adapting to Conflict in Central Africa
The Mbororo in this study, who are part of the larger Fulani/Fulɓe/Peul ethnic group, migrated to the Central African Republic (CAR) from Chad and Cameroon in the 1960s and 1970s. Since the 2000s, nomads in the CAR have been facing serious conflict
Identité et modernité
popularité des camélodromes. Dans d’autres sociétés nomades, comme par exemple les Touaregs, il se situe également au sommet de la hiérarchie animale. Il y est considéré comme l’animal de l’aristocratie, seule susceptible de le monter, les classes inférieures
The nomads traditionally studied by ethnographers have a sense of place and territory, a sense of time and of return. This nomadism is thus different from the metaphorical nomadism of our current mobility; that is, “overmodern” (surmoderne) mobility. The meaning of “over” in the adjective “overmodern” or “supermodern” has to be read in the sense that it has in Freud’s and Althusser’s expression “overdetermination,” where it indicates the profusion of causes in a particular phenomenon that complicates the analysis of its effects. Overmodern mobility expresses itself in the movements of population (migrations, tourism, professional mobility), in immediate general communication and in the traffic of products, images, and information. It corresponds to the paradox of a world where we can, at least in theory, make everything without moving and while moving all the time.
The Ottomans were descended from one of the many clans of Turkish nomads who swept westwards from the steppes of Central Asia and decisively defeated the enfeebled Byzantine Empire at the battle of Manzikert in 1071. The tribesmen converted to Islam and then slowly expanded their grip on Byzantine territory in Anatolia.
Biological Concepts and Their Careers beyond Biology
Jan Surman, Katalin Stráner and Peter Haslinger
This article introduces a collection of studies of biological concepts crossing over to other disciplines and nonscholarly discourses. The introduction discusses the notion of nomadic concepts as introduced by Isabelle Stengers and explores its usability for conceptual history. Compared to traveling (Mieke Bal) and interdisciplinary (Ernst Müller) concepts, the idea of nomadism shifts the attention from concepts themselves toward the mobility of a concept and its effects. The metaphor of nomadism, as outlined in the introduction, helps also to question the relation between concepts' movement and the production of boundaries. In this way conceptual history can profit from interaction with translation studies, where similar processes were recently discussed under the notion of cultural translation.
Migration within, from and to the Middle East
Sabine Strasser and Shahnaz R. Nadjmabadi
During the last few decades, the range of key anthropological issues in the Middle East has changed remarkably. Along with relations between tribes and states, nomadism, kinship, ethnic and national conflicts, and tensions caused by oil and water, today’s post-9/11 effects and diversifying patterns of migration have increasingly attracted scholarly interest. Although they have entered the field of migration studies surprisingly late, social anthropologists have recently amplified their participation in this booming research area, particularly in transnational studies.
Some Thoughts on Exile as a Dynamic Condition
Exile is a strong marker of identity for a writer, but to keep it forever as part of one's self-image surely involves a kind of mis-description, or at least over-simplification. Maintaining the position of being in exile also has its dangers: the posture of detachment can turn into a kind of wilful separation. Moreover migration, dislocation, various kinds of nomadism are becoming the norm, but this extreme mobility relativises even the most stable identities. What styles, or stories, or genres will be invented to describe a world which is no longer divided between peripheries and centres?