Accepted paper:

Key figure of mobility: the nomad


Ada Ingrid Engebrigtsen (NOVA)

Paper short abstract:

This paper takes the concept of the Nomad and Nomadology as a point of departure for the critical assessment of the figure of the nomad in the social sciences.The discussion is centered on the Nomadology of thought and science and its relevance for the analysis of mobile processes termed migration.

Paper long abstract:

Deleuze and Guattari's Nomadology is the point of departure for my critical discussion of the Nomad in social science, together with Braidotti's analysis of nomadic subjects (1994) and Scott's 'The art of not being governed' (2009). My argument is that contemporary social sciences, when analyzing certain mobile processes such as contemporary global mobility, are caught by what D&G's term Royal science by reducing it to "migration". Such Royal analysis' often contribute strongly to the State's "war" on indeterminacy by suggesting strategies for controlling, civilizing and pacifying this experienced threat. The concept and metaphor of the nomad plays a significant role in social theory as in the imagination, desire and abhorrence of sedentary society, in different historical and socio-economic contexts. The anthropologist Barth has expressed that among his many field-experiences, his travel with the Nomads of Southern Persia was the most personally satisfying and he describes the Basseri as the happiest and most harmonic people he has lived among (Hylland Eriksen 2013). This appealing memory is one of several romantic images of empirical nomads at the basis of Deleuze and Guattari's concepts "The Nomad" and "Nomadology" (1986). They developed these concepts to think through a state of being that resists the hierarchy of centralization they called Royal science as expressions of State power, and introduced the Nomad as the War Machine: a counter-power to the centralizing power of the State. My discussion is thus centered on the Nomadology of thought and science.

panel P044
Key figures of mobility (ANTHROMOB)