Monday, 28 January 2008

Why Nomadology should become a discipline

Obviously Nomadology has not become an academic discipline during the past because it basically deals with social groups that have been marginalised as they did not fit into the State’s striation project: Circus groups, Gypsies, Mongolian shepards and warriors, Arabian Beduins, African merchants, Refugees, Sami hunters…
These classical images of nomads are images of the “other”, the “outcast”, so it is very easy for people travelling in culture scene to relate to them as the images affirm a transitory, risky, but also flexible and alternative identity. To describe nomadism as mental state rather than a physical one is an attempt to shift the traditional images into a contemporary sphere. Physical nomads do not cede to exist (you can find them at parking lots, sleeping in railway stations, renting guest rooms in big cities, keeping their herd together etc.) but mental nomadity seems to become a dominant preposition of nowadays way of life. But what does it mean exactly? If we just take “nomadism” as flexibility, movement, mobility we can attach the term to almost every phenomenom we like to attach it to. More than that: we feel attracted to do so as “nomadism” may describe also our state of mind and thought and move. Nourished by traditional patterns we create new images of “Nomadism” within ourselves. But does it help to catch the term? Do we need to catch the term in order to use it, to translate and transform it and to feed it into our own work? Nomadism is not a field, it is a world. And Nomadic Structures are patterns that fit on so many different layers that it is worth creating a whole discipline around it and not just a discussion. If we start to map that discipline we get an atlas with unlimited pages and if we start to study nomadism we may become aware that the term itself will cease to exist – we just used it as a key to open a new passage. Let’s see where it can lead us to.

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