The panel focuses on the various phenomena surrounding roads and travelling, working and living along them. It aims to bring together different interpretations of these phenomena and to build up towards an anthropological conceptualization of roads.
Roads connect, join and facilitate communication and movement. Yet they are more than just features in the landscape or connections between two locations. For instance, they can be seen as extension of power and means of progress. People who engage with roads invest them with meanings and particular symbolics which frequently relate to nation-building and development, or to automobility with its simultaneously attractive and destructive potentials. Moreover, roads constitute sites for everyday practices, skills, manoeuvres and encounters between people who live, work and travel on and along them. These and other phenomena have led a growing number of scholars to realize that roads represent a vast field for empirical inquiry and theoretical conceptualization in anthropology and related disciplines. This panel provides an opportunity for scholars to present case studies for ethnographically and historically informed explorations of roads in various countries and continents.