38 / 2013
Špela Kalčić

Going Nomad: New Mobile Lifestyles among Europeans


Global modernity with its economic and technological transformations generates new mobile lifestyles that challenge officially recognized forms of human mobility. The new European nomads presented in this article are representatives of this newly emergent form of mobility. Closer ethnographic scrutiny reveals that these people are constantly on the move, and work and use several income-making strategies while on the road. Not only mobility and economic strategies, but also conceptions concerning reasons to be mobile, relations with the background society and the public spaces they traverse share similar features. There are numerous criteria according which it is possible to talk about them as representatives of a new type of contemporary mobility, for which peripatetic nomadism, marginality and inventiveness are central characteristics. In the article I discuss the field research data that underscores the characteristics according to which my interlocutors can be conceptualised as“marginal mobile subjects”: their income depends on mobile and flexible economic strategies which define their patterns of more or less irregular movement; their social reality consists of inbetweenness, a lack of networks of assistance and invisibility in public space. Although they like to state that their lifestyle is a result of a free choice, the situations in their everyday lives reveal that their freedom is actually constrained by unfortunate or unsatisfactory life situations which often lead to feelings of marginalisation and being deceived by their background society, and they tend to bypass state bureaucracies imposing “sedentary norms” on their lives.

KEYWORDS: mobility, marginality, peripatetic nomadism, inventiveness, global modernity