Wednesday, August 08, 2007


Photo: Farzana Warhidy/AP

This is interesting. I'd like to know more. Nomadic Politics - there's a new grad seminar in the making.

"Take Afghanistan, where politics are much more dispersed," said Frachetti, while sitting in an upscale Almaty café in July, a few days before trekking to the Saryesik-Atyrau Desert to conduct that remote area's first archeological survey. "I think some of our foreign policy complications derive from our inability to locate a nomadic dynamic within contemporary political structures."...

...scientists like Frachetti are discovering that nomadic cultures are flexible, switching between transient and more sedentary ways of life, and assimilating and inventing new ideas and technologies. Nomads created durable political cultures that still influence the way these countries interact with outsiders or negotiate internal power struggles.

While the view that tribe and clan - the basic building blocks of nomadic, or semitransient societies - influence the contemporary politics of some countries is nothing new, specialists in nomadic studies argue that policymakers have overlooked important "cultural intelligence," such as family relationships, when analyzing governments that grew out of tribal traditions.

"Families, tribes, these are the things that matter here," said Oraz Jandosov, co-chairman of a Kazakhstan opposition political party.

"Foreigners talk about these things, but it's only talk. They don't understand them."

No kidding. We in the West have at best an understanding of the nomadic displacements of late capitalism.

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