Mediterranean cosmopolitanisms and the mobilities paradigm
Ramon Ribera-Fumaz (Universitat Oberta de Catalunya)
Paper short abstract:
In the midst of current geopolitical contests, the Mediterranean reemerges as a site of policy and scholarly attention. The paper critically examines this renewed interest in the region and highlights and discusses the potential of the so called ‘mobilities paradigm’ in studying new social and cultural formations in the Mediterranean.
Paper long abstract:
In the midst of current geopolitical contests, the Mediterranean reemerges as a site of policy and scholarly attention. Initiatives in the policy realm such as the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership and its associated Anna Lindh Foundation for the Dialogue between Cultures are being paralleled in academia with a renewed interest in the Mediterranean as a site of convergence and exchange. In returning their gaze to the Mediterranean, politicians have called for a revival of its vocation as a human unit while scholars have found an experimental field for shifting cultural and social formations. In the first part of this paper we critically review the academic and policy discourses about the Mediterranean and note that both tend to be premised upon a paradoxical combination of 'nomadist' and 'sedentarist' visions of social life that fail to sufficiently acknowledge how the social is constituted in a place of such massive flows of people, objects and symbols. Our argument is informed by a 'mobilities perspective', an attempt to systematize and further develop a wide range of work on the mobile nature of social and economic life. When the current efforts to create a Mediterranean region are seen through a mobilities perspective it becomes evident that the material conditions for the creation of a common cultural and social space remain under-examined. This prevents acknowledging already existing potentialities to further develop Mediterranean cosmopolitanisms. In the second part of the paper we discuss the methodological challenges to study cosmopolitan dispositions from a mobilities perspective.
Immobilities: new challenges for anthropology in a globalised world (Young Scholars Plenary)