Author:Riccardo Ciavolella (CNRSEHESS)
Paper short abstract:
This paper analyses the political meanings of mobility/immobility for some pastoral Fulani groups of Mauritania, in relation to logics of exclusion from citizenship and contemporary dynamics such as decentralization, autochtony, refugees and international migration.
Paper long abstract:
This paper analyses the political meanings of mobility for some pastoral Fulani groups of south-east Mauritania. Anthropological literature has traditionally attached a "culture of mobility" to Fulani peoples because of their nomadic origins. Nevertheless, contemporary practices of mobility are not related to pastoral life any more. They rather correspond to a strategy for dealing with the state. For example, mobility could represent a form of rejection of political authorities (i.e. a refugees' escape from "ethnic cleansing" in 1989) or a tactic to bypass the state (i.e. urban-rural and transboundary mobility). But in some cases, national and international mobility of these marginal groups is extremely restricted. In this sense, their practices of mobility are linked to political logics of inclusion and exclusion from formal and substantial citizenship.
This paper discusses this topic in relation to some current crucial dynamics:
- the impact of political decentralisation and "glocal" ethnoscapes in producing ideologies and practices of neo-traditionalism;
- the creation of a "Transboundary region" in the Karakoro river basin between Mauritania and Mali, with the support of ECOWAS;
- the exclusion of the Mauritanian Fulani refugees in Mali from the plan of repatriation announced by the new "democratic" regime;
- and the exclusion of Fulani groups form transnational networks of solidarity in comparison to other neighbouring groups, such as the Soninke, that have historically gained from international migration.
Mobility, transnational connections and sociocultural change in contemporary Africa