Understanding involuntary immobility in the Bartang Valley of Tajikistan through the prism of motility

While in many parts of the urban world the variety of means of transport increase, in the rural valleys of Tajikistan, people still have limited access to any means of transport. As such, local communities may easily get stranded and isolated from food markets and healthcare facilities. Based on ethnographic fieldwork in the Bartang Valley of the Autonomous Kuhistoni-Badakhshon Province of Tajikistan, this paper aims to understand how situations of involuntary immobility emerge in the region. On the theoretical level, the paper demonstrates the value of motility as a conceptual term to explore why people face involuntary immobility. In a context of physical remoteness, environmental variability and dilapidated infrastructure, new facets of the concept of motility are revealed, notably on the ways inhabitants navigate through adverse mobility conditions. The paper is articulated around the three dimensions of motility: accessibility, mobility skills and appropriation of mobility. Results show that most people in Bartang have a low motility due to the lack of vehicles, frequent environmental hazards and the demanding set of competencies required to be mobile. This low motility induces involuntary immobility which is more commonly experienced by particular groups but affects most inhabitants when the road is closed.


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  • Accession Number: 01748497
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Aug 24 2020 9:28AM