Title: Grounding Mobilities: Rethinking transnational tourism and migration
Authors: Salazar, Noel B. # ×
Issue Date: Jul-2009
Publisher: University of Yunnan
Host Document: IUAES World Conference 16: Immigration pages:458-473
Conference: World Congress of IUAES edition:16 location:Kunming, China date:27-29 July 2009
Abstract: It is fashionable to imagine today’s world as being in constant motion, with people, cultures, goods, money, businesses, diseases, images, and ideas flowing in every direction across the planet. The scholarly literature is replete with concepts and metaphors attempting to capture altered or intensified spatial and temporal realities: deterritorialization and scapes, time–space compression, the network society and its space of flows, cosmopolitanism and the possibility of leading bi-focal and multi-focal lives in several locations simultaneously through transnational migration. Sociologists and geographers enthusiastically talk about the ‘mobility turn’ in the social sciences, stressing the breaching of boundaries by migration, mass communication and trade, and suggesting the emergence of novel forms of identity, economy and community. For the self-critical discipline of anthropology, which has accused itself in the recent past of representing people as territorially, socially, and culturally bounded, this perceived new reality is thought to be theoretically and methodologically challenging.
If mobility is the new mantra to be chanted, the chorus line might be older than most scholars want to acknowledge. Long before globalization, transnationalism or cosmopolitanism became academic buzzwords, anthropologists already knew about such mobilities as experience experts (although they not necessarily acknowledged them in their writings). With the present hype over global fluxes and flows, we tend to forget that many of anthropology’s founding scholars, including Franz Boas and Bronislaw Malinowski, were themselves migrants and that the latter put transcultural mobility at the heart of ethnographic practice. Not only the experience of “being there” produced invaluable insights that shaped the discipline, but also the act of traveling “out of place” played a determining role. At the same time, critically engaged ethnographers have been among the first to point out that the very processes that produce global movements and linkages promote immobility, exclusion and disconnection.
Drawing on comparative ethnographic data from Southeast Asia and East Africa on ideas of mobility and the mobility of ideas in the context of border-crossing travels (international migration and tourism), this paper discusses the analytical purchase of (im)mobility as an overarching conceptual framework to study and understand the current human condition.
Publication status: published
KU Leuven publication type: IC
Appears in Collections:Interculturalism, Migration and Minorities Research Centre
× corresponding author
# (joint) last author

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