Settler colonialism is primarily about mobility: Alice Wilson, ‘Ambivalences of mobility: Rival state authorities and mobile strategies in a Saharan conflict’, American Ethnologist, 2017
Abstract: How do ongoing histories of physical mobility in economic and political life affect rival state authorities’ claims over a disputed territory? In the conflict over Western Sahara, wide-ranging strategies of mobility challenge familiar tropes of migration scholarship, in which states constrain people’s movements while subjects seek to escape such control. Both the Moroccan state and its rival, the liberation movement Polisario Front, have curbed mobility while their mobile Sahrawi subjects evade their authority. Simultaneously, however, both these state authorities encourage people to circulate in order to support claims over territory, while Sahrawis move to strengthen their position vis-à-vis either state authority. Mobility, then, emerges as an ambivalent means of mediating and transforming power relations, especially between governing authorities and their subjects.
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