Accepted paper:

Rural Mobilities at a Borderland: the Case of Baloches in Sarhadd (Iranian Balochistan)

Authors:

Vahé Boyajian (Institute of Archaeology and Ethnography, National Academy of Sciences, Armenia)

Paper short abstract:

The paper focuses on certain aspects of mobility and stability among Baloches of Sarhadd in Iranian Balochistan. The interaction between the rural and urban lifestyles of Baloches ensures both their economic sustainability and the security of the border with Pakistan.

Paper long abstract:

The paper focuses on certain aspects of mobility and stability among Baloches of Sarhadd in Iranian Balochistan. The interaction between the rural and urban lifestyles of Baloches ensures both their economic sustainability and the security of the border with Pakistan. The mobility of Baloches between the countryside and the local urban centres (Khash, Zahedan) can be characterised within the logic of recursiveness, as in Sarhadd they are engaged in a variety of social and economic activities that supposes a pluri-residential lifestyle. The rural areas act as the loci for sedentary agricultural occupation and animal husbandry, while the urban spaces provide opportunities for trade and other social engagements typical to non-rural sites. This kind of mobility is conditioned by a number of factors related to the social structure of the Balochi "tribes" in Sarhadd, the segmentary lineage system, as well as by the fact that Baloches are involved in paramilitary units for protecting the border with Pakistan. It is argued that moving from and to the rural areas alongside the border in a way is an important tool for the "securitisation" of the area. Besides, the rural mobility is an essential aspect of the social roles represented in Sarhadd, which under certain circumstances are transformed into markers of identity. The ethnographic data have been obtained during the fieldwork in 2016-2017, in Sarhadd, Iranian Balochistan.

panel P146
Moving from, moving to, moving in the countryside: ethnographic perspectives on rural mobilities [SIEF panel]