Networks of insha'allah: affective densities of spontaneous leisure practices
Paper short abstract:
Through ethnographic narrative, this paper traces one family’s summer vacation at 'home' in Morocco, to explore how nodes of networked actors contributed to spontaneous, unpredictable travel - characterized by the expression ‘insha’allah’ as a metaphor of serendipity in leisure.
Paper long abstract:
Every summer for nearly forty years now, cars have piled onto the roads from the far reaches of Northern Europe, hurtling towards Spain and the ferry crossing to Morocco. Formerly Moroccan 'guestworkers', now these are the cars of Moroccan-origin European families, full of the children, grandchildren, and sometimes great-grandchildren of initial migrants, all moving in concert towards the holiday at 'home' in Morocco. Through ethnographic narrative, this paper documents one family's planning and execution of this journey in order to explore how nodes of networked actors contributed to participants spontaneously, unpredictably choosing to make the journey - characterized by the expression 'insha'allah' as a metaphor of serendipity - and how the journey itself, and the vacation that takes place in the 'homeland', relies on both immediate and imagined networks to spread that 'insha'allah' spontaneity into leisure spaces in Morocco. These data also document how the spatial networks of travel feed back through social networks, via the shared histories and mutually recognizable trajectories of its actors. Effectively, this framework argues for a qualitative approach to conceptualizing how social networks constitute community beyond direct linkages, creating affective densities of affiliation through the mass of connected nodes.
Immateriality, mobility and the network (ANTHROMOB)