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Friday, August 6, 2010

Call for a new boundary-crossing network: Anthropology and Mobility

*** Apologies for cross-postings ***

/Call for a new boundary-crossing network/
*Anthropology and Mobility*
Convenor: Noel B. Salazar

Mobility, as a concept-metaphor, captures the common impression that
people�s life-worlds are in constant flux, with not only persons
(including anthropologists), but also cultures, objects, capital,
businesses, services, diseases, media, images, information, and ideas
circulating across (and even beyond) the planet. Among anthropologists,
it is fashionable these days to study tourism, migration, diaspora, and
exile; cosmopolitanism and transnationalism; global markets and
commodity chains; and global information and communication technologies,
media, and popular culture. The literature is replete with metaphorical
conceptualizations attempting to describe perceived altered spatial and
temporal movements: deterritorialization, reterritorialization, and
scapes; time�space compression, distantiation, or punctuation; the
network society and its space of flows; the death of distance and the
acceleration of modern life; and nomadology. The interest in mobility
goes hand in hand with theoretical approaches that reject a sedentarist
metaphysics in favour of a nomadic one and empirical studies on diverse
mobilities, questioning taken-for-granted correspondences between
peoples, places, and cultures.

While anthropologists traditionally tended to ignore or regard
border-crossing movements as deviations from normative place-bound
communities, cultural homogeneity, and social integration, the
discourses of globalization and cosmopolitanism of the 1990s shifted the
pendulum in the opposite direction, mobility often being promoted as
normality, and (too much) place attachment a digression or resistance
against globalizing forces. At the same time, critically engaged
anthropologists were among the first to point out that not all
mobilities are valued equally positively and that the very processes and
regimes that produce trans-border movements also result in geographical
and social immobility.

This new scholarly network aims to facilitate theoretical and
methodological exchanges on anthropology and mobility. What is the
analytical purchase of (im)mobility as a conceptual framework to study
and understand the current human condition? What are the most adequate
methods to research objects of study �on the move�? The network will not
only foster intellectually stimulating debates among anthropologists
working on mobility along various thematic and conceptual lines, but
will also create exciting opportunities for collaborative research and

We kindly invite everyone interested to attend our first network
meeting, which will be held during the 11th EASA Biennial Conference in
Maynooth, Ireland (24-27th August). The meeting will take place on
Wednesday, 25 August, from 20.00 until 21.30. The exact location will be
announced at the conference through flyers (

Those who want to express their interest in joining the network may contact:
Noel B. Salazar, Ph.D.
Cultural Mobilities Research (CuMoRe)
Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Leuven
Parkstraat 45, bus 3615, BE-3000 Leuven

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