Adrift between worlds
Fieldwork in Riyad, Saudi Arabia.

Adrift between worlds

Notes from the field

written for 2014 New Year's greeting

It is said that the world has become a global village, as mobility brings our departures closer to our arrivals, inspiring us to live here and there, and so sorry we missed each other, I’m heading out again tonight.

Little left, then, to prevent anyone from boldly laying their hat just about anywhere. With places brought to mind through Insta-snippets and cultures merely a Like button away, wandering between worlds is a non-stop ride.
And yet, the feeling remains that we’re being duped: transiting so rapidily shrinks time and tricks us into thinking that travel is only about moving around.

For the ethnographer, the surface is a shaky terrain, leaving no choice but to sink deeper. To go beyond fragments, we need to stop and stay a while. A necessary shifting of the frame, salutary in our turbulent times: almost a therapy to recapture the natural thickness of time.

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