Customary Strangers: New Perspectives on Peripatetic Peoples in the Middle East, Africa, and Asia

Customary Strangers: New Perspectives on Peripatetic Peoples in the Middle East, Africa, and Asia

Customary Strangers: New Perspectives on Peripatetic Peoples in the Middle East, Africa, and Asia

Customary Strangers: New Perspectives on Peripatetic Peoples in the Middle East, Africa, and Asia

Synopsis

Social scientists have generally remained impervious to a major economic and cultural adaptation--namely, the peripatetic lifestyle--although this adaptation has been an integral part of developments within the socioeconomic and cultural networks that social scientists study. This lack of interest derives perhaps from the ambiguous integration of peripatetics into these networks as well as the often negatively charged constructs--"Gypsies," "outsiders," or "marginal others"--imposed on peripatetics by dominant cultures. As "peddlers of the strange" to borrow a phrase from Clifford Geertz, peripatetics are situated at the fringes of their host societies and many students of the social ecological, and behavioral sciences still continue to overlook the roles of peripatetic peoples. All told, the essays in this collection provoke vital reassessments of the anthropological focus on the role and status of "cultural brokers" and go-betweens in political, economic, and social interactions.
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