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Chapter

1

THE

CONCEPT

OF PERIPATETICS: Aparna Rao

AN INTRODUCTION

In recent years there has been an abundance of books on nomadic incipient and primary producers - on hunter-gatherers and pastoralists. However, peripatetics, namely endogamous nomads who are largely nonprimary producers or extractors, and whose principal resources are constituted by other human populations have been largely overlooked. Although occasional anthologies on Gypsies (Rehfisch 1975, Salo 1981, 1982) and on regional issues (d. Leshnik & Sontheimer 1975, Misra & Malhotra 1982) do contain chapters on peripatetic communities, no attempt has so far been made to present and compare data on such communities in a cross-cultural perspective. The purpose of this volume is to put together first-hand ethnographic material available on peripatetics, who are the most widely distributed nomadic populations in the world, and to plead for a somewhat broader and more flexible approach in the study of spatial mobility as an adaptive strategy. In this introductory chapter I shall first consider the basic problems which are contained in the concept of peripatetic. I shall then describe some of the features common to all peripatetic societies.

The

Peripatetic

Strategy

Whil in French anthropology and geography the term nomad and its d rivative have b n applied to all group who employ regular spatial mobility a an n mi strut gy, in th An I -American and German litcn ur riaining 0 th· iopi ,th t rms hay been applied prin'il .lIy l< • nim.1 husb: n I .rs, but .Is l hunt r and gatherers. In the Illy seven i 'S, h( W 'V', 'on, , . IId1l"()1 ologis s started t I k at th Oil It, lilt! lil~'1 -m l .1 I 01 ex mpl' S. lzrn: n WI'Ol' (I 71: 1 0):
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the spatial arrangements of the Gypsies or Nawar of the Mediterranean . those of peripatecism are labour. but this term fails to account for those numerous c mmunities who sell their goods (plus. primarily non-food-producing mobile communities may be termed 'wanderers. artisan and non-artisan itinerants (see also Salzman 1983). perhaps incidentally. or cyclic in nature. or a part of a gr up may be food-producing one year.'1111 -nts. " (Chapman I & Prothero 1985: 5). h·'. Nomadism of various degrees can now no longer be seen as a response to the physical environment alone. Rosander 1976: 151) had already used it to refer to such communities. III ' non-food-producing criteri n m t b appli • ~I 'l m )SLxu 'II group over very J ng peri ds f ti m . rn: intent 11" ( f constnn y . others too took up this line and nomadism.. " Gradually. di 'II tili ''1l1'lIli Ii IOIIl\ () I' (III" XII i .ci 11 it hiu Iii· hlOlll1 111111 I 111\111 \111 III III" 1. usually short-term. like pastoralism. interaction of in livi Ill. livestock and pasture. since in many parts of the world a group. LIS' o he ". 1986c). Posing the question of whether it would be meaningful to classify peripatetics together with pastoral nomads (Leshnik 1975: xv) suggested that while the term nomad be reserved for migrating pastoralists. Another term suggested to categorize such itinerant communities is 'non-ecological nomads' (Misra 1978) by way of contrast to pastoral nomads. the resource in this case being customers with purchasing power . circulation of different kinds can no longer be perceived exclusively as the ". Srinivas 1955: 10. Similarly. basic elements of pastoralism are labour. and some may even hunt and gather a little (Kosambi 1967: 107. for example. and constitutes a minority wherever it may be..peripat 'Li s. interchange of labour between different modes of production . commercialism can also take many forms. gatherers and fishers extract a variety of prey and plants.ommunity under ·h nging nditi ns." Mosl f h h. which has been defined by Zelinsky (1971: 255-256 in Chapman & Prothero 1985: 1) as "a great variety of movements. Is in . pastoralism.1J1Iiv·value Ihi 1111'1 II11I (Iljlll II . il ilit i' ". see also Hayden thi volume) implies mobile communities who do no wage labour. The degree of spatial mobility also varies from community to community.\ltill' \1(. I ( 11I1 lion () . even in the most unfavourable cir. Thi 'ms to be particularly true for Africa (see Chapter 8 thi v IIIm ')i nlth uj. 'Service nomads'.. in addition.. vOCatea-tne distinction between trader. in . just as hunters. r n kccj i ng with he fa 'I t 11. although others before him (e. an ethnic unit (see Barth 1969: 10-11). 1979a.regard-( ed as a specific mode of production.III I II 11I11 . but rather as a mode of subsistence. arlier. Of various ethnic origins and speaking different languages peripatetics are thus defined as primarily non-food-producing/ extracting. 1979b). western Europe and North America are reported as being extremely flexible in adapting their skills to suit hanging requirement.wot It 'I 1"1111 11II1III I I III I I.. and non-food-producing the n xt. Bollig this volume). but to the total environment. A few may have a little land (Ivan ow 1920: 282).' 01 111'I' i l numn I 'i . preferentially endogamous. Pill III 'p 'I iPII'11I ' I . Peripatecism. depending on the flora and fauna available. ppc r g nerally t c tt: in hOI11 st sis whi h has been defined by Krebs (I 78: 622) as. LUlZ 61: 299) had. customers and skills/goods. another term proposed by Hayden (1979. repetitive. " (Chatty 1980: 82).. like pastoralism should not be.UljU. depending on the physical environment and the animals herded. . is a kind of resource exploitation. one aspect of which can be demand and supply. but their primary subsistence is derived over long stretches of time from commercialism.1. The peripatetic strategy consists basically of combining spatial mobility and non-subsistent commercialism at the economic level with endogamy at the social level.III II II II ir in 111 'il a .. their service )..1\'olth'l'tllllll 'I • r lis lI~.. ".. houses (Olesen this volume) or herds (Rauber-Schweizer this volume). Whereas the . f d and rvi s Iorms tl 'm.. but data now indicate that this would be too r stri rive..urnstance . Peripatetics as a whole constitute a socio-enonomic category and each community is.2 Aparna Rao The concept of peripatetics: an introduction 3 certain kinds of resources .\h for the Middle East (Rao 1983) and ntcrnp rary W stern Ewop. rn rc p rhap than other itinerant populations.I I II III1 \ I thrown up by Berland (1978. pt r in Ihis v( hi III .. but sell their services.. and peripatetics in Africa. Some years ago I myself (Rao 1982a) suggested the term 'non-food-producing nomads'. now no longer confused with say.1(1)\111\. Further just as pastoral resource exploitation may take many forms.j)rr's(lIr"'I.what Berland (1979a: 3) has termed the "human resource base". following Baines (1912: 105).1 (A toll II H )... ing h r. ". . In fa t. '11 ~lllll' '. who are more directly dependent on ecological factors.. began to be applied to. Another term often used in the study of human spatial mobility is circulation. Nomadism could logically be associated with the extraction of any of these or with various combinations .." Commercialism. itinerant communities subsisting mainly on the sale of goods and/or more or less specialized services to sedentary and/or nomadic customers (Rao 1985... but all having in common the lack of any declared intention of a permanent or long-lasting change in residence.g.

ntinuum. it is clear that peripatetics along with mobile animal hub nd rs and hunter-gatherers tend towards the mobile end. or the herd management routines of nomadic pastoralists upon the patchy and seasonal distribution of pasture and water resources. 11 I Il( n-Io: I-I rorlu 'lioll. this model would mean that in an environment where resour e are attered unevenly.M. production/extraction are taken to represent the two axes m t r J vr n t( the definition of a peripatetic community a distinct fr m th r in nomic categories. this inv Iv s hi till Ih . peripatetics follow the cycle of the primary resources of their own resources.ipa. :' (p. 1981. n rgy xp nd d) I y rninirnizin th tim p nt in vi i i ng di If r n u: t '11' I tel In rn I" ncr l' 'rl1lS..·ll\olli (this volume: h.e. and the seasonality of resource extraction possibilities... and many peripatetic communities obtain compensation at fixed time of the year for goods and services in seasonal demand.in·l. In orne parts of th w rId th y ar .. Hunter-gatherers procure various plant material and animals at specific times of the year.t!··1 I pili..l.·1 C illt . also Berland this volume). 8) wh '/1 he slIgl' 'sts tlu I il has I "11 • l1lis 1\1<· to 'nil -idcr )( J-I r luc ion. benefits can be maximized nly if the n t r turn g.4 Aparna Rao The concept of peripatetics: an introduction 5 chapter. 11101 ilily . I1d 'X g. the Sheikh Mohammadi and the Ghorbat of Afghanistan sell their winnowing fans and sieves respectively (Olesen this volume and Rao 1979.. human I gy nd s ici I nnthrc p I gy is n .tics have inCom'ffioii-with most hunters. m r di "1"'1' ru] or 1 nger duration than in ther j at rt in p ri d in his ry hey 11 m r in flux than in th r. peripatetics ". In its most idealized form the peripatetic strategy thus tends tow I" • one end of a non-food-producing . and in fact. 1986b) in time for the harve t and the visits of the Gaduliya Lohar of northern India coincide with specific agricultural activities of their peasant customers (Misra 1965).~ li. Many of the chapter in this anth J y will sh )w that these categories are not alway di ret and th: t th y ar fl n he 1'1 lived.J i h· diffcrcn s and variati ns. I 1111111 IlIIld 11111 II I (II ill I tli IlIdll'. tll III I I' I tli I I I . in press) and ~ one important distinction between these different categories of nomads thus lies in the "amount of control they exercise over food resources" (Berland 1977: 86). drawn from ecological studi to ask if and how given communities having for example. and in his chapter in this volume Piasere considers certain peri atetic subsistence activities as a form of gathering (see also Arnold 1980: 1 r:-W a pe. n community. my.. In recent years anthropologists have increasingly discussed th usefulness of the optimal foraging theory. ·ndof.. 11111111 I I II 1111111 I" I \1' it -'II I' I' I 1\ i III Millti I . "The models of optimal foraging theory . time .nil" 1111111 I I hr d mnn I 1\ I 1111111 i"l r v I of I h !ill I ut (hi II I III (\I 111111 I .. peripatetics employ cyclic spatial mobility as a strategy to maximize benefits.'s. Figure 1 h w ~w dimensional model.food-producing/extracting n· tinuurn.r·wl··xll.gr··wihMi'h. Similarly if mobility and sedentism are viewed a.. 135).iHi I.ItlWI dU11l . In other contexts the peripatetic migration cycle depends on vari u ecological parameters (R. analyze foraging strategies as the joint product of environmental and behavioral "givens" (constraints) and the goals and choices exhibited by foragers attempting to maximize the benefits obtained per unit foraging time:' (Smith 1983: 47). patchily distributed resources exploit them optimally. in d can counterbalance the H rt mad ( .1. III . M r inter 'iv r arcl in tip i ·lls 01 PI' hist ry. yet specialize at any given Maximizing ' Benefits and the Optimal Foraging Theory As opposed to pastoral nomads and hunters and gatherers the ideal type of peripatetics obtain their food almost exclusively from and through other human populations (Rao & Casimir 1983.. But like nomadic pastoralists and most hunter-gatherers. 1982b. Thus the cycle of migration patterns among peripatetics is as dependent upon their customers' specific demands as the migration of hunter-gatherers is upon the seasonal availability of wild foods. Gmelch and Gmelch describe in their chapter how the rnigration patterns of Irish Travellers are largely determined by occupati nol possibilities. Iwc 1'10111 d"l I IV ilnl I n ill \I lid I I IIHII Illh \1''1. are generalists . the agricultural and/or pastoral cycles of their customers. gatherers and pastoral nomads is the characteristically patchy distribution of their resources. I OIlClllli II I III 11\ "I d If' • '1'1111.. where the degree of mobility and the ext nt f f I. I. the other end being exemplified by a self-subsistent p . Thus Berland has shown (1982: 80-81) how the mobility of the peripatetic Kanjar and Qalandar of Pakistan attain peaks during and shortly after the spring and autumn harvests (d. Hayden 1981) and while the income peak of the Xoraxane Rom depend on the local ritual calendar (Piasere chi volume). h w v r.J. Applied to peripatetic.11 'nti.1 -onrinu 11011 wlri'hS\llt'gi'SI1I' dOII·dlO II U' (1111 IOP'Wilh 'Ol\sthlilll t whir h I III II II III I !lot v 1. i. Similarly.nd s·d '"d III.

"llll'lIltlllttllIIV\·111l1 .WHO!' .111· t h.or •• co· • • • • • •.r. 1 Two dimensional model of socio-economic categories which are determined by the degree of mobility and the extent of food production.i IlIilll'f.. •. si i 'tol' . Rao & Casimir 1985) as 3 a )( peripatetic herdsmen and certain caravaneers in northern Africa as peripatetic traders? In practice this remains a moot point. or 'nyeenyBe' among the Peul (Bollig this volume). although theoretically the primary subsistence resource at any given point of time can be taken as a criterion of definition and distinction.lh\ I 'I i~1i· applied to I. n in psi. Some.1S l . not in terms of ethnic or I..u lh' I hrc I asi 'on ·Iusi ns whi h may be i 'S h. In non-European contexts there are other generic terms used.1I '1I.huntersgatherers or pastoral nomads. .'. 'hwach' ok chaein' in Korea (Nemeth this volume). 6 Aparna Rao The concept of peripatetics: an introduction 7 min a E >< .lt·d in-y'... yp y-like'. Each of these ideal categories approaches a specific corner of the squar P = peripatetics..• • • • • • • •••• • •••• • • • • PN • G e n e r i c T e r m s.. but the anthropologist must also be aware that such terms are not only loaded. 1986a. wo : xe impli -. th pr p rti 11 f thi mixtur dep nding n n' p iti 11in ch qu: r Any h.~ ·Ir h.•. or extraction. Hayden 1981: 346) or as peripatetics who also hunt and gather (d..I ng ith r (th. • ••••P •••• HG• •• • • • • • • • • • • •• • • • • • • .. such as '[at' in Afghanistan (Rao 1979. by reason of their itinerancy.'I'll /ii'l 's st·lll.. . nomadic.which although not Romany are often distinct from I h( sc of the surrounding populations (Rao 1985..lPI. ti n . nor c re they accepted as such by the latter. Ih 'i r languages . !III !lividll II/II II Il\lh· III -vl/ioli 11'1 \ \ d-/initioll '.. HG or PN . . in press c) .. I "PIHI ·111111111111 Ii 111.m. o :E • >..linsl lh . but not all so-called Gypsie can be classified along with peripatetics..111. nguage traits."1 . they are vague and often incorrect. but in terms of their subsistence strategies.•••• • • • ~ 0 cg r- c E L- min • . -xts. In Asia and n rthern Africa (d.lllts and vagabonds . in press a). also Bollig this volume) diverse peripatetic communities have often been categorized by scientists as 'Gypsies' or ...• . In "urope many of these communities rarely identify with 'Gypsies'.. .li. Not all 'Gypsies' are nomadic and not all non-pastoral and non-hunting-gathering nomads are 'Gypsies'. endogamous communities all over the world tend generally to be lumped together and labelled as 'Gypsies' or vagrants. The model hows that none f these at g ri is discrete and that an infinite range of 'mix d' at g ri s xists.and above . 1981.1I1 ·noldill.• • • • • • • ~ • • • • . WN I H )/ 'v. their traditional professions. 'nyamakala' among the Bambara. SC = sedentary commercialists... • rn jo '" minor h nil' in th -11\. •• •• • • • • • •• • • • ••• • • • • • • • • • • . ~ • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •••••• •• • •• • •• • • • •• • ••••• • • •• ••••••••• •••• • • • • • • •••• A••• •• se••••••••••• • • • • •• • ~ 3 ::J FOOD max production / extraction Fig.. I have suggested elsewhere (Rao in press b) that these terms often represent folk models of specific ethnic categories.lgl.Ip. E t h n i c Cat ego r i e san d Sub s i s ten c e For m s Primarily non-food-producing/food-extracting.•. p rhap th ir at least appar nt ocial marginality in their local con- ••• • •• .cn vt ri usly d fin d by law maker Illd il is il111101 . P 'I"il atcti rnrnuni V. vi: als and th law h.. Y'!-I" I ' I time and again been termed in many untries been set it.•FOOD production / extraction max (d. also Bollig this volume)? Likewise would it not be more apt to classify the Pohol of Kashmir (Uhlig 1973. B.

In fact. peripatetics are often ) regarded as "foreigners". etc. caravans or huts. and endogamy is one of the characteristics also marking them off against itinerant salesmen. hawkers. ethnic group.. no fixed sources of subsistence. and very often it is of a different ethnic origin from its customers. cultural or seasonal factors. endogamous. have "a place to sleep in".. Although economic adaptability is valued among some peripatetic communities. Peripatetics and the Greater Society _ Each peripatetic community is in its cultural environment a minority . individual pedlars. All empirical data now available on the migration patterns of peripatetics show. Even when this is not the case.. be it their tents. their houses. and this contributes partially to their social marginality. itself largely influenced by the professional activities of its members. carts. each group has at least one if not several (eventually sex-specific) professions. Peripatetics. however. origin as well as of current identity:' Now. The second characteristic of 'vagrancy' appears to be the lack of a place to live in. it should be noted that 'vagrants' in any given area would not form an endogamous community. Finally. though they could form a gene pool. however. however. on the contrary. The third feature of 'vagrancy' concerns occupation and profession: 'vagrants' have no precise occupations. as opposed to a 'subculture' (Fine & Kleinman 1979). 10 I i v lurn nvid N In th's ] rm n in h WI' il t Ii nw« Iw rk r w r o'i II de I i ·1 I· II B I Ilhi II III 11 rll (II I 11111 (n I orl I il/dl II I I 11\ I 1111 nd II ('Ii lil'I/VI (I hll I II I It I I I I . Peripatetics are. n I r 1 7 ). even though frequently. or in case only a part of the family is mobile. a home in the widest sense of the word. which are more or less specialized.8 Aparna Rao The concept of peripatetics: an introduction 9 with any recurring economic. Such ideologies deeply affected the ial tatus f m st peripatetic in th ur p n Middl A (. In many societies the moral or religious ideologies of the customers result in certain professions being despised. these professions are extremely important. one could go even further and affirm that each peripatetic community represents a 'subsociety'. wagons. current professional identity is a part of current social identity and the social marginality of a peripatetic community can thus be linked both to its alleged origins as well as to its current identity.. Barth (1969: 29) noted that ". that their mobility is regular and closely linked to easily identifiable and fixed parameters. ethnic membership is at once a question of .

ese~t p~ibilities forbidden by the reality of the . Goldberg 1978). According to Sjoberg (1960: 135-137).g. in this volum th chapters by Salo... and consequently also with its environment (d. i~ fact to all groups :. tion peripatetics entertain with their host societies.. served this function well . The basic point at que ri n is therefore. Outcaste groups..1111' " the hI v I. Iloilil'. women in certain communities and~ groups in certain contexts (d. Berland 1978. as much feared by the . 1. perform marriages and carryon religious ceremonies. Illdl" I'd . peripatetic Russian minstrels (Zguta 1978. Thi implies that peripatetics prey on their hosts.)o~. iss I'. Voorheis 1982: 114-115) exemplifies this contradiction. ill (I 1.111 "lSt .. it was advantageous to the authorities to have them filled by people who were not taken seriously by the populace. 111I1 1'111 III \I it I 1111 tll. I . quacks and fortune-tellers eat corpses and practice black magic (Rao 1982b: 31. LV. People engaged in these activities are therefore in a position to exchange information with a wide variety of social groups and thus may be said to perform the task of communicator or disseminator of ideas. III till 1111 1111." In northern Afghanistan sedentists believe that the peripatetic Jogi.. Th at I c t r ppr r 'Ill ly ambiguou nature f r lati ns bciw n p ripat ti an I their customers further mpli at chi. II· sh< ws lh. Illi I· 01 I h • I () iill· vru ill! ion III I ... the fate of the Skomoroxi. also Rao in press a? Peri pat ti ' have very often been dubbed parasites and predators (e.l1i " I irn: 'III or: Ii. populace as . but also to numerous other groups. detested and despised.? PERIPATETICS Marginal Wild Nature Disorder Neutral Power An my '( ( )11 \I' OSI(I HI HOST SOCIETY Mainstream Tame Culture Order Parti an Aurh rity Lawfulness Since there are few systematic studies of peripatetics very little has been reported till now about the roles they play and the place(s) th y occupy in the structural relations of general interaction among differ nt communities. the norms and values of the p ifi ntext. wrote Garnett (1891: Vol.'j th ' hapt r y R ubcr..·. Similarly..rip: l uic 'Olll muniti s pI y vari II roles in rh ' lives 0 Ih ' S Irroundinl-l so·i 'li '.. 'Do eri atetics fulfill economic and/or social need f th ' larger society?' To ascertain this. Table I Set of complementary oppositions between peripatetics and their host societies. I I • I.. as Loeb (1977: 96) writes. An examinati 11 f th Lt. ~SO'Clal structure (Lindholm 1981: 521). but i al 0 cl sely link d t the id I gi •• 1 base. This apparent contradiction stems at least partially from the inherent contradiction in most societies between social and economic necessity and political authority and order (Rao 1985: 99). Peripatetics are thus despised. pl 11111 IIlld ' III tll II h 11/ I' 11111'1 I 11111111II I 1111111111Ii Ii I 1111111 dIll . or does it vary with the gr up. il..) \A «t \. 1n" "I'li 01 tli IlIltllil \I 101. 361) peripatetic ". 1979b) as unique.. :' In their chapters on 'Gypsies' in Europe both Kaminski and Liegeois show clearly how these principles were and are applicable in industrialized societies as well...r. Berland 1982: 76-77).. immediate and longterm) whi·h are allocated to them as incumbents of these role is required. Since the above mentioned vocations were deemed necessary for economic reasons...in this-volume raise these issues and explain how the combination of a low socio-political status and high ritual status function in reality.. caste spells. I \I I I 11111ltilill .~ ' '0 . and on this account . imply considerable face-to-face interaction with diverse elements of the population. . Th n. Fisher 1981: 64. ridiculed and segregated. Barth 1975: 286.. II p. ~e . The peripatetic tinkers of the Sahara (Briggs 1960: 71) and the peripatetics living among the nomadic pastoral Iranian tribes of Fars (Amanolahi 1978: 15) write charms and amulets.hw 'iz -r. JI1~'ljU and i" rc I rovi I· tOOlI 'x. 1979a..10 Aparna Rao The concept of peripatetics: an introduction 11 and rain-makers on the other (Bollig this volume). Bollig and Casimir. such as smiths in very many cultures. women are the witches par excellence. an examination of both the r I wI i ·h peripatetics play within the social fabric at any given point f tim " • s well as the rewards (direct and indirect.. 1IIIIIIil l1iv' 111111111 i 1111' I dllt 11111 ' qllllilillii ·il 1111'Ill' dltltlll II' III II '1'. tur of both roles and rewards depends largely on the level f dev I pm 'lit of the forces of production. Some cnapt. yet feared. 1986a). it is because of this extra-occupational role that such vocations were viewed with suspicion by the elite in feudal autocratic preindustrial societies .111"1~( 'I 1. "the occupations of peddler .. In Turkey. Bain 1 1 : 109. The Peripatetic Niche: Symbiosis and Parasitism? ~ vc (\N\ 11\. (l IHlll hi h 'I 'II 1111 ill'. Can one legitimately consider the 'peripatetic niche' ( f.

An \ ( me f rrn t. old clothes. The foodstuffs received are consumed immediately and when there is a surplus it is either stored to be consumed later (Misra 1965: 168. II I I IltlvlIl \I ill III II II" I I 1111 \ 1111111" II 1\ iv! I t" .nd I. Willi I III 11 I I it! Iii I. . of granting direct or indirect political patr nag. as distinct from other peripatetic communities exploiting the same resources. • I' H I II III III 1I1lt! 111'11".WI·1l1 h scdcntisc . Most of the cases lie somewhere in between these two extremes and their position shifts according to various factors. attachment appears frequent with pastoral groups. it may be considered as occupying a specific niche of its own. with the peripatetics also having sedentary rural customers. Peripatetics are compensated by their customers. or entirely of pastoral nomads. Th [orrn f thi p tr nag varie a cording to whether hut rn rs rc scdcnu y r n madi . but also of fodder for pack animals. Rao & Casimir 1983.all peripatetics as opposed to say all patoral nomads.1 I III II ~ j I II I I d III. the greater the degree of specialization within the peripatetic community. Amanolahi 1978) the nature of the interaction is intermediate between attachment and contiguity. sometimes immediately.-0 e and '.the specific niche of mobile communities offering their goods and services for sale. in press). Compensati n in services rendered by customer groups or individuals nits mainly. While a very large number of pastoral groups in North Africa. wherea when th yar • t h d t h ir ust m rs. it is thus no coincidence that the two papers in this volume about peripatetics attached to their customers deal with pastoral contexts (Lancaster & Lancaster and Casajus).12 Aparna Rao The concept of peripatetics: an introduction 13 tions to the subject. Purely hunter-gatherer customers are rare. considered as committed to a specialized mode for subsistence . kind or services (see Fig. if n t wh lly. in some cases (Barth 1961: 92. I I' I II I n 11111 I . Iran and Baluchistan have at least one peripatetic group living with them. The nature of the compensation is obviously correlated with the customers' socioeconomic conditions. In her chapter Olesen describes this barter system at length. Within this broad context two patterns of economic and political interaction emerge between peripatetics and their customers: they may be termed contiguity and attachment. shoes. may be ob erved when peripatetics live with a given group of customers and w rk primarily.hn -nt c I I l u tI 'I ill~ 0 i ri] I r -n 111.commercialism . originally having only sedentary farmer patrons are now also turning to patrons among Fulani and Bugaje pastoral nomads (Erlmann 1981: 74). .. h y • r rt n ntir Jy d ruil1f\ I m nd n n hi. Attachment.1 In' luv 1. Compensation in kind consists primarily of foodstuffs. It appears that the higher and the more constant the rates of exchange. Arabia. if each peripatetic community is considered as committed to its own specialized means of production. 2). It is doubtful whether there are. I suggest that parasitism and symbiosis should be viewed as lying on a scale along which the interacting agents need each other to varying degrees. peripatetics who are neither contiguous. In a contigu us ituati n peripatetics may thus be economically dependent n vari u lu t r f customer. Peripatetics may be said to be con t i g u 0 u s to their customers when they live primarily independently. Hence. this I liti '. Since the concept of need is culture specific. the only instance known to me being that of the Bavarlof Central India (Baines 1912: 105). the nature of the interaction is situated on a continuum between near symbiosis and near parasitism. but visit their customers at more or less regular intervals. and generally urban customers tend to give cash or food immediately while rural sedentists and pastoralists tend to compensate more in kind and/or services. etc. On the other hand. t I Il10m I I \I I 111'1 I I \ I I i. Turkey.11111 II Illidl 111 I . etc. /< ~ \t ) ~r Patterns of Political Economic Interaction The overall political context of interaction between peripatetics and their neighbours is comparable to a 'dependency chain' (Van den Berghe 1975: 73 -75). and must vary diachronically. By and large while contiguity seems the form of interaction most commonly encountered between peripatetics and sedentist customers. shifting cultivators. Ehmann 1974: 144. Peripatetic Anne musicians in Niger. Rao 1982b) or at least partly sold at a profit (Berland 1982: 81. but more often on a long term basis. The customers of a given peripatetic community may consist entirely of sedentary townspeople and/or villagers. nor attached to their customers.nnd al rding t th s cin rnic strucru ) t hci own s -j·t. or again of a combination of the three in varying proportions. I'li ouuuunity.. on the other hand. and shows how barter affects the internal economic organization of the Sheikh Mohammadi of Afghanistan. may be judged as occupying . immediately or over longer periods of time in cash. especially in non-industrial societies. if not exclusively for them. il II III. with the peripatetic always occupying the weaker end of this chain.

. \ CHIli\. this volume).14 Aparna Rao The concept of peripatetics: an introduction 15 count of such patronage accorded to peripatetics by the Rwala Bedouin. I lillli'li Iii Ilplllllll liuv II IIdl .. Political patronage and protection may also be granted to contiguou peripatetics. and sedentist worn n in semiurban Afghanistan also helped the peripatetic Ghorbat in simil. it may incidentally also help them resolve certain administrative problems. Peripatetics and the Constraints of Demand and up ly </) t</) .J </) <t 0:: </) o t- 0:: UJ o 1: <t Q. Since protection involves the presen of a power block. and allows them accessto all potential customers within this domain (se Rauber-Schweizer. peripatetic Tinkers in Dublin establish durable relati nships with given housewives who act as mediators between them and th rest of Irish society (Gmelch & Gmelch 1978:449). thanks to their patron's access to the regional elit network. r if somewhat more indirect fashion (Rao 1982b). Thus. in addition to cash and/or kind. This provides them with security. especially in their movements within their patron's domain.

quack.. In remoter areas. iI I III I III ·d III I III I "I II ti III I III Ii 1I FREQUENCY OF DEMAND high / \ low PREDICTABILITY OF DEMAND / low PREDICTABILITY OF DEMAND \ I high CUSTOMER POPULATION high large /\ small HIGHLY MOBILE PERIPATETI S LESS MOBILE PERIPATETICS 'I ipl\! 11111 'Ii I v . dill Ii ( 11\ llll IIIi Ii • • . etc. The higher the durability of an object.i· (L. t i ' I gy .teller. may be classified as highly predictable since the activities of the customers for which these goods and services are required tend to be seasonal. Durability and price also influence the frequency of demand.. they may do good business in spite of their high prices. or repaired agricultural and household implements. musician (except for ceremonial occasions) and entertainers generally. Digard (1978: 44-45). like others before him asks whether. In their chapter here Gmelch and Gmelch postulate that the movements of peripatetic Gypsies and Travellers in England and Wales are more frequent and less predictable than those of most nomadic pastoral peoples and hunters and gatherers. since a larger potential customer population must be reached by wider ranging migration circuits. .lS>lul'. services and labour to a host economy where demand is irregular in time and place" (Okely 1975: 114). The demand for new. lo v.nlil1ll'i'l. But this demand is not universal and thus. prostitute. Th pr upp iti n f". 3). The frequency of demand is thus determined by the more or less long gaps between the periods of demand. simply because they keep their prices low. Van Bruinessen 1978: 140. the lower the frequency of demand in absolute terms...rsis. I ut n: I 'IHi. Generally. however. I "li . in the absence of a caste system in the region. Bollig this volume). peripatetics can be legitimately called ca tes. or wh th r it would be more appropriate to peak f a patr nodi nt syse m rnplementary tala i ty. the lower the frequency of demand the greater the mobility of the peripatetic community must be. Thus.~ ---- _. etc. the lower the predictability the larger the total potential customer population required to sustain a given peripatetic population.• 11 II II. annual. Predictability and frequency of demand for goods and services offered by peripatetics are what determines their existence and viability in a given area (Fig.' The concept of peripatetics: an introduction 16 Aparna Rao 17 of goods. A latent demand is always present for these services and it has seasonal or other cyclic periods of intensity. Referring to the relations between peripatetics and their customers some writers have termed peripatetics 'castes' or 'clients' (Toupet 1963. On the whole. Iii lly. The demand for the services of the peripatetic fortune . may be difficult to predict. also the higher the price the remoter the chances that the customer will be prepared to buy the' product often. in rural or urban centres itinerant pedlars and artisans often manage very well in spite of stiff competition from sedentists. tha h pnmiion bcrwccn narncd . ritual services.h 171: 7) i .

· 11 Itl IHIIIII III till I I II III II III lid I I' II Ii III It I Molt 111111) \(1.18 Aparna Rao The concept of peripatetics: an introduction 19 to their customers entertain jajmani-type relations with them." . also Bollig this volume): . a tendency to use a different lingo among themselv~s ISnoted. n ·I. I~)I.ld. etc.?f Afgh. Berland 1982: 81. (the) t:ansposmon of syllables.. Wiser 1969: 43-44). but also that they are territorially organized and that these territories and thus the customers are quite strictly inherited within fixed social units (d. durable relations .M. in press a).. In some parts of the world the vocabulan~s of these 'secret languages' are a remarkable mixture d~awn from vanous languages.im he Prophet r avid ns ih .an hl~toncal.). Even between peripatetics and their contiguous customers. '1'1111. Language. I1Ill! ()~I~g . I 11'11 '~(II. Data on the migration patterns of contiguous peripatetics also show clearly that not only are their migration circuits fairly strict. J1 til" Ii I III Ii rum: I w. Hayden 1981). Rao 1982b. ni tan trace de cent from the assanian monarch Key Kayhan (It 1 82b: 41f£'). and in the Middle East these vocabulanes are . 'I' . Ito II .. Misra 1969. but this is not specific to peripatetics. Ra~ III ~r~ss c) IS an example of the latter. ihcrs onsi I r tl t . " (Mandelbaum 1972: 161). Ih' III I illil I lOW 0111'1 n I I.lillH (I( 111 ell' linlllli Ii' 11 n m liv '1111 I IIIif 1. The use of a means of linguistic communication which ~s ent. jajmani being defined as ". These self-imposed markers must be clearly distinguished from markers which are of great significance for non-group members (d. although even in India they may not always be recognized as such..· I Given their generally precarious social situation in the macro-society.. . Whether 'real' or 'a~tificial. of the Sh~lkh Mohammadi of Afghanistan (Olesen this volume. a!so m.ir : 11"St r. The Mid an of Somalia claim descent from Dir. see also R.entions that the Sh . VIII\1 II III I IIl. Leonardo Piasere's chapter on the Xoraxane contains a very interesting discussion on the topic of territoriality among peripatetics. Social Strategies of Survival this is a common phenomenon in many parts of Africa (Bollig t~is volume) and in South Asia (Ryan 1953: 142. s r'SI onsnhlc I h '" ~II h I 'g '11 I~ " I'inlol ill .. Originally.ligible to t~e latter. I III liv I. t nics 10 • ns i usly use i in his rnanncrEvcn within rh« me 'Olllill 1\1(111 ol'illil. Gmelch & Gmelch this volume and Berland this volume). religious or secular personality Important III t~elr locality. Rao in press b) but may be of little symbolic value for group members.tilll' WOIII. In his chapter CasaJ~s. (I'. 19~8: 46.'.ar legend: ry. 'I ill I 111111 1111 \I I I' .i~telligible only among group members. However even' when the language of the peripatetics is basically the same as that of their clients and customers. the language of some peripatetic groups. the Gaine of Nepal (Helffer 1977: 51). I~'i~' . literally means '~ecret language' (Weber 1986). Kurian & Bhanu 1980 Berland 1982: 62-63. Casimir this volume)." (Ivan ow 1922: 375).11 PIOI I. the lIngUIstIc. Among peripatetics the use of self-imposed ethnic markers separating them from the surrounding populations appears to be characteristic. ~hls tongue can be either 'real' or 'artificia~'. (by) the addition of various suffixes .ikh M hammadi laim a 1 ally r p t d rchgl u fIgure as ancesto~. Also orniniquc s jus r ports cI at while m In. including Romany (Rosander 1976: 156. ?Igar~.. genealogy and religion in order of importance are the most common markers within the group. especially since a group must reside in a given village in order to be officially part of this system (Wiser 1969: 44). 'III Su h 111. reports th~t the secret language of the Inadan is also formed by the addition of certain prefixes and suffixes (d. but mnny nt m I. n: 'st r's ~ . Id st mali stock (Goldsmith & Lewis 1958: 189) and the Ghorbat . and h Ramosis of western India (Schlaginrweit 1884: 72) claim respectively Ih andharvas and Rama of Hindu mythology as their ancestors.' 0 Ollllt It III ..111in C I" I linllti Ii I 'Idoll I I\ \ I M lh. purpose achieved is that of a 'secret language' and III fact It appears that III Egypt rotani. g~~slfled . essentially those between a food-producing family and the families that supply them with goods and services . the Adurgan. and at be t only partially intelligible to non-members is the commonest pr tective devic mpl yed by \ peripatetics.. Thus while some 'Gypsy' legends mention the vague part their ancestors played in the crucifixion of Christ. Nomadism and frequent fission of residence units/camps appears to be one fairly common method resorted to when internal conflict situations arise (d. and thus intel. Lerch 1981). Childers 1975: 247.irely . uch a 'languag . ()I' P '1 il ate i f\ 1'\('1I0lli. and in certain societies language and religion can also be important markers for non-group members. rnt y n t hay rv d ih purp F a mark r..~IIl1I1' IllS V )lul. generally regarded as the .' Peripatetics often boost their self esteem and prestige by ref~rnng to kinihip ties or other (even negative) r~lat~onships tO.-:47. relations may be analogous to those of jajmani (Hayden this volume.. . peripatetics have to resort to strategies of self-conservation and develop methods to boost their self-esteem (d. In her chapter Asta I sen. lnt! lif~ r nt ti ns of th rnrnunity v n disput the de~r e f punt o this I 'S' nt. Y I rip.

11 I' I I I II \II I I III cII I' 1\ I lit I I lit 1\ Oil cI hi hell i I I II il ill I \III 11111 " I hiI'I \111 I I tli I ill Ii v i Iu I iIi n n l lOll III with ill .20 Aparna Rao The concept of peripatetics: an introduction 21 dingly dress like Sayyeds and perform rituals normally performed by the latter alone (Amanolahi 1978: 15). References are al ~ und to itin rant mmunities of entertainers and arti an in Afri a. Finally. which acts as a basic ideology for the community. Invading armies who brought artisans along with I h '111 ort n 1 ft th m b hind when they left (see Nemeth this volume). The change over from a primarily hunter-gatherer subsistence to a primarily peripatetic one appears to have taken place either when the hunter-gatherers were pushed into marginal areas where resources were too low.g. or due to progressive impoverishment caused for example in Mongolia by xcessive interest paid to moneylenders (Legrand. and in its own eyes renders it morally superior to all its neighbours. or nomadic pastoralists. beggars (Beckingham & Huntingford 1954: 126).R. The Sassanian monarch Bahram Gur is supposed to have first imported musicians and dancers into Iran and then banished them. n w mrnuniry. simultaneously to reduce psychological stress. (Ninomiya 1933: 75-77). Jacobson (1975: 88) has suggested that the rock shelters of Central India dating from between the 6th and 1st centuries B. For centuries Europe also has known mobile communities of artisans. while thers settle and become urban merchants (Legesse. ther data point towards a peasant origin (d. The rigid purity and pollution ideology of some peripatetic 'Gypsies' is an excellent example of this phenomenon. 1 2b). 1I . 'Gypsies' could be added to this list. In his chapter Kaminski examines the use of taboo concepts by 'Gypsies' in their resistance to cultural assimilation and the chapter on the Tahtaci . In his chapter Michael Casimir discusses at length the legends of origin of several peripatetic groups and suggests that these legends reflect the hardship of their way of life and serve. f r x m pl in th arly 16th century Le Afri anu m nti 11 d 'll h n munitic.I I w hUll I.har 180: 1 7). Berland this volume) ( r p ripatetics whose ancestors were driven from their lands by agressors (I ughty 1888) or because sudden. from the 15th century onwards. Roux this volume).I l th n buildi: UI. but it appears that many contemporary peripatetics evolved from hunter-gatherers. w r I J97 . comm. etc. . although many got The Rise and Fall of Peripatetics The sparse references available in historical records enable one to deduce the existence of itinerant communities selling their goods and services in many parts of the world from early times (Bliimner 1918. Dehhoda 1330 HS). Berland 1982: 75). entertainers and the like (e. Bose 1956. or when hunters and gatherers gradually grew unable to depend on uni-resource ubsistence. It is also known that travelling entertainers were part of the ancient Indian scene (Basham 1954: 209-210.C." vII i liS In.rs(13. uth f h Ada M Lint. pers. similarly in certain Islamic societies peripatetics are Shias.h famines and earthquakes led to hunger and destitution. It i further likely that certain II Iii tctic 111 mun I I arc h ut m findividual getting together I. Gaheis 1927).nI17Ih' in« v I lou II Hit I 111111 1~lhi I i. W \I 1st r ught in its wake destruction of the infrastructure and sedenI II ar is. Adhikari 1974). by expansionist peasants or pastoral nomads (Bacon 1954: 48. Some peripatetics were originally pastoral nomads (see Bollig. Arnold 1980. and perhaps recurring catastrophies. of peripatetic communities. and finalI t p ripatetic way of life (Crooke 1888: 69. so that they became itinerant (d. Gunda 1981.11 h I 1966: 279).1l C i I livid·1 illf'1 I 111 I III It II rllli I V . s m peripatetics may have originally been sedentary artisans (de 1'1.). many of whom were endogamous. Ave-Lallernant 1858. Irsigler & Lassotta 1984). may have been inhabited or visited by nomadic smiths. comm. pedlars. in wh lid t • th ir g ne I g I . whereas the majority of the sedentists are Sunnis.. FinalI . but turned to a peripatetic way of life either because they I st their herds and pastures as an aftermath of war (Doughty 1888).). while \ some were peasants or sedentist craftsmen. ContemP rary Waata in East Africa are an example of a peripatetic group many r whose members try and become pastoral to join the Boran. Little empirical data is available about the evolution and development ')'i . De Planhol (1966: 278) ha argued for the existence in Central Asia also of itinerant artisan ca t prior to the Genghis Khan era. Ancient Japan had itinerant artisans. many peripatetics have a distinctive religion or weltanschauung. ns s m tirn b ame refugees unable to settle anywhere in the 1111t~ run ( . largely because of deforestation (Bhowmick 1973 in Gupta 1976). Berland this volume) and in medieval India trade was partly in the hands of peripatetics (Thapar 1966: 295). of Turkey shows how their belief system protects them against cultural absorption. pers. • I sedentarized fairly early. Arnold I'HO hi \IH't lilt i in 1'1111 i ibe nl ch hi yy r'war I" -. and in his chapter David Nemeth cites evidence for such communities in ancient Korea too. travelling showmen. .

-' ~ -' u 0 UJ sudden gradual <:: :r: 0 u u.and the chapters by Rauber-Schweizer. Michael Bollig provides several different examples in his chapter.. . II). Th~ socio-economic origins of peripatetics and the causes leading to their formation. while the rest cover peripatetics in other parts of the world. . Existing prejudices. in recent years. • On. There has been.or of becoming sedentarized and hence abandoning the peripatetic way of life. th: :vhole disastrous events encouraged.22 Aparna Rao The concept of peripatetics: an introduction 23 divi?ual 'Gypsies' . and while the progressive modernization of Afghanistan may lead to the ultimate sedentarization of the Sheikh Mohammadi there (Olesen this volume)./) I UJ <." (Irsigler & Lassotta 1984: 136). 11tt 'III )1 int I I ti( 11 I tot (I 11 l"lIlIil1 db" II ( pul: ti I1S. Musiker gerieten immer sehr leicht in Verdacht kriminell zu sein oder mit zwielichtigen Elementen Verbindungen zu haben . <:: UJ <. an increasing number of publications on 'Gypsies'..1 iou 11( IH die I opulnti: ns n: w 1\ n the (IH1I1f ill!. In a somewhat similar fashion D~vid Nemeth uses the theory of riverine migrancy to suggest some possible ways for the evolution of peripatetics in Korea and elsewhere. It is rather. an exploratory volume III I it is h p d th t it will J 'Ld new thinking and m r re earch on tl. The stress on South Asia stems from the practical availability of recent empirical material on peripatetics there. Four of these chapters deal specifically with peripatetic 'Gypsies' in Europe and North America./) « U ::::J U <. There is a certain amount of overlapping between the t w sc tions of the anthology and only two broad perspectives on p . It does seem certain that by the late 15th century in parts of Germany peripatetic ". whether peripatetic or not. The aim of this introductory chapter has been to provide a review of existing knowledge about peripatetics and to indicate issues relevant to the study of peripatetics as well as to mobility and marginality in general. but these chapters here represent the first attempt to examine the specific features of the economy and society of 'Gypsies' who are still peripatetic. Lerch 1981).NOM. and patterns of interaction between peripatetics and others is a ntral theme.rip: t ti s are pres nted here. ARTISANS PAST. but then this book is not intended to be the d ·finitiv w rl n p rip t ti . write Irsigler and Lassotta (1984: 13) were reinforced in Europe in the Middle Ages by ORIGINS HUNT-GATH. Salo.evolved to form what are today known as the yemsh (d./) 0 2 f::::J "" -' ::::J U -' « * * * ----------- sudden gradual * * * ---------- * Ta~. The chapters in this book discuss these changes and show that they are far from uniform. Four ther chapters consider individual peripatetic communities in southern Asia. The strategies peripatetics employ as responses to overall contexts of change consist of either diversifying their niches . The aim of the following chapters is to present a sample of current anthropological perspectives in the study of peripatetics. 11 I L III dll (I III i. 0 <.hapters. subsistence activities to adopt a peripatetic life style (Tab. The asterisks indicate that examples of such changes are found in the literature. In contemporary Hausaland.til dl Iliid II I. md~vId~als having various. II. the Yan Goge who are peripatetic musicians and actors are also an example of this development (Olofson 1980).. Piasere and Bollig illustrate this . reuics '11l11( II '1. or even obliged groups and. in better years the Humli Khyampa of Nepal prefer to abandon the little farming they sometimes have to resort to and again become fully peripatetic traders (Rauber-Schweizer this volume).!J OF PERIPATETICS PEASANTS SED. Many themes referred to in this introduction appear in the following . similar pressures are now leading to great changes in the lives of contemporary peripatetics.!J Z <. and to consider this data in the context of general peripatetic strategies. to the emergence of peripatetics.

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