Accepted Paper:

has pdf download Saharian "borderline"-strategies: transnational mobility of Tuareg (Ishumar) between Niger, Algeria and Libya  


Ines Kohl (Austrian Academy of Sciences)

Paper short abstract:

During the last years Tuareg created a transnational space of agency & a culture of mobility in the central Sahara. Droughts, political marginalization & lack of perspectives forced young nomads from Niger & Mali to move to Libya or Algeria

Paper long abstract:

The movements of the Ishumar in this transnatonal field are no cyclic or other "traditional" movements of nomads with their livestock, but situativ bordercrossings of "new modern" nomads, who move in the Libyan-Algerian-Nigerian borderland without papers, identity-cards or passports. The Triangle-Villages Ghat in Libya, Djanet in Algeria and Arlit in Niger are outstanding corners in the new created inner-saharian space of agency. All this three borderland-villages inherit a central position from which the "off-road" routes begin and end. The protagonists operate beyond national loyalities, cross state borders illegally and move in a space of transit with strategies of avoidance in order to pursuit their activities of trading, smugging and migration.

In this paper I will describe (1) the ways, challenges and dangers of the (illegal) bordercrossings and the life in the space of transit, (2) the several strategies Ishumar use in order to move freely in the borderland and (3) the changings in their traditional conceptions of norms and values.

The term Ishumar, orignally 'unemployed persons', meanwhile characterizes a new way of life.

Panel W004
Mobility, transnational connections and sociocultural change in contemporary Africa