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Ambiguities of Space and Control: When Refugee Camp and Nomadic Encampment Meet

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This article explores sedentarisation as a process of inherent tension between the rupture and preservation of values associated with mobility. This tension is compelling when mobile pastoralists settle in refugee camps. Refugee camps may resemble nomadic encampments in material infrastructure and (alleged) non-permanence. Yet refugee camps contrast with nomadic encampments in facilitating control and evoking, through its disruption, rootedness. In the case of refugees of mobile pastoralist heritage from the disputed territory of Western Sahara, the tension in the meeting of nomadic encampment and refugee camps sees the nomadic encampment reproduced and transformed in the refugee camp. This creates ambiguities of space and control.
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Keywords: Western Sahara; mobility; nomadic encampment; refugee camps; sedentarisation

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 2014

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  • Nomadic Peoples is an international journal published by the White Horse Press for the Commission on Nomadic Peoples, International Union of Anthropological and Ethnological Sciences. Its primary concerns are the current circumstances of all nomadic peoples around the world and their prospects. Its readership includes all those interested in nomadic peoples, scholars, researchers, planners and project administrators.
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