Location & Navigation

With increasing local and global movement, driven by circumstances ranging from violent conflict and work opportunity to leisure travel and tourism, the meaning of location is changing. Leaving a location, staying in one temporarily, settling in a new one, perhaps returning again – indicate not only the importance of location, but also its many different connotations. Locations can be the loci of political contestations, of processes of exclusion and inclusion as well as of the creation of connections and the construction of home and belonging. However, location not only refers to a spatially or geographically fixed point (a home, a place of work, a village or town, a country etc.), or virtual and mediated places, but can also refer to a location or position in social space. Navigation most commonly refers to the plotting of movement from one place to another or, more specifically, the act of navigating, as in planning and directing the course of ship by using instruments or maps. By contrast an anthropological understanding of navigation is not only linked to physical movement, but also to social navigations in terms of people´s orientations (identities and ideologies, not least those formed by current events, political and personal) and movements in social environments marked by constraints and possibilities.

Thus, SANT 2017 explores the dialectic between location and navigation within and amongst social worlds characterized by their fluctuations. We especially invite papers that address theoretical and methodological questions around the construction of location and the process of navigation. How can these concepts be used ethnographically and theoretically to make sense of ongoing local and global movements? For instance, how are locations formed, reinforced or destabilized through practices of navigation?