Anti-sedentarism and the anthropology of forced migration [article]


Anthropologists of forced migration have advanced unique perspectives exploring identity and community as they relate to space. With its critique of naturalized conceptions of rootedness, boundedness, and territorialization, anti-sedentarism stands as an important conceptual development emanating from this work. And while expressions such as ‘sedentary bias’ and ‘sedentarist thinking’ are found throughout this body of literature, anti-sedentarism per se has not received a proper treatment of its disciplinary underpinnings and intellectual horizons. This article identifies some of the genealogical traces of anti-sedentarism, discussing it through anthropological contributions in both the cultural and mobility turns. Informed by the work of anthropologists of forced migration, a working definition of anti-sedentarism is provided, followed by a critical discussion on key debates related to this concept. A selection of migrant and refugee ethnographies produced during the mobility turn (1990s onward) is then used to explore the extent which anti-sedentarism has translated to the empirical work of anthropologists and ethnographers engaging with displacement, dispossession, and deterritorialization.


sedentarism; forced migration; refugees; space; place; mobility; ethnography


Parent, Nicolas. 2022. “Anti-sedentarism and the anthropology of forced migration,” Suomen Antropologi: Journal of the Finnish Anthropological Society 46, no. 2: 10-29. DOI:


This article is available here and here.