SOAS University of London

Centre for Migration and Diaspora Studies

Nomadism as a cultural and legal category: Roma, trans-territoriality and peripheral space

Emma Patchett, Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster

Date: 30 April 2014Time: 1:00 PM

Finishes: 30 April 2014Time: 3:00 PM

Venue: Russell Square: College Buildings Room: 4426

Type of Event: Seminar

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Emma Patchett - Nomadism as a cultural and legal category: Roma, trans-territoriality and peripheral space

The development of doctrines of modern law and human rights remain embedded within a framework of recognition established through the link between territory (as property) and the individual, leading to the development of a significant category of ‘nomadism‘ as a condition of discrimination and exclusion, where marginalisation is constructed through the rhetoric of  an abject and residual ‘outsider’ status. Exploring the development of restrictive migration law and its effects on the right to pursue a nomadic way of life, this study will consider the category of the 'nomad' in the light of domestic and international law, focusing on its relationship to concepts of territorial belonging and national identity. Drawing on critical theories of spatiality, I will explore the implications of this restrictive categorisation as an element of (mis)identification and the attempt to propose  order on inhabitation, as part of a wider interdisciplinary research project on refractions of migration law in the literature of the Roma Diaspora. This study suggests there is a need to draw on frameworks of protection of indigenous peoples and case law concerning the rights of nomadic tribes to establish a new form of trans-territorial (supra)nationality, in which to simultaneously re-think the conditions of ‘nomadic’ identity through an interrogation of the concept of nomadism as it has been constructed formerly, as a distinctly disenfranchising - and yet paradoxically evasive - cultural and legal category.

Organiser: Centre for Migration and Diaspora Studies

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