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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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II" i \ Ii I till,

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II 1111

although others before him (e. but all having in common the lack of any declared intention of a permanent or long-lasting change in residence.1.III I II 11I11 . depending on the flora and fauna available.. artisan and non-artisan itinerants (see also Salzman 1983).ci 11 it hiu Iii· hlOlll1 111111 I 111\111 \111 III III" 1.urnstance . arlier. basic elements of pastoralism are labour.1(1)\111\. primarily non-food-producing mobile communities may be termed 'wanderers. which has been defined by Zelinsky (1971: 255-256 in Chapman & Prothero 1985: 1) as "a great variety of movements. Pill III 'p 'I iPII'11I ' I . Whereas the . like pastoralism should not be. commercialism can also take many forms. A few may have a little land (Ivan ow 1920: 282)..." Commercialism. usually short-term.. Further just as pastoral resource exploitation may take many forms. vOCatea-tne distinction between trader. Peripatetics as a whole constitute a socio-enonomic category and each community is. rn rc p rhap than other itinerant populations. 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 . The degree of spatial mobility also varies from community to community...j)rr's(lIr"'I.g. 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. Bollig this volume). The peripatetic strategy consists basically of combining spatial mobility and non-subsistent commercialism at the economic level with endogamy at the social level.. now no longer confused with say. western Europe and North America are reported as being extremely flexible in adapting their skills to suit hanging requirement.. or a part of a gr up may be food-producing one year. or cyclic in nature.ommunity under ·h nging nditi ns. but to the total environment.. Thi 'ms to be particularly true for Africa (see Chapter 8 thi v IIIm ')i nlth uj. preferentially endogamous.I I II III1 \ I thrown up by Berland (1978. Peripatecism. 1979b). LIS' o he ". one aspect of which can be demand and supply. circulation of different kinds can no longer be perceived exclusively as the ". Rosander 1976: 151) had already used it to refer to such communities. and non-food-producing the n xt. di 'II tili ''1l1'lIli Ii IOIIl\ () I' (III" XII i . ". In fa t.what Berland (1979a: 3) has termed the "human resource base"..' 01 111'I' i l numn I 'i . the spatial arrangements of the Gypsies or Nawar of the Mediterranean .. Another term suggested to categorize such itinerant communities is 'non-ecological nomads' (Misra 1978) by way of contrast to pastoral nomads. and some may even hunt and gather a little (Kosambi 1967: 107.1 (A toll II H ). the resource in this case being customers with purchasing power . " (Chatty 1980: 82). rn: intent 11" ( f constnn y .. '11 ~lllll' '. see also Hayden thi volume) implies mobile communities who do no wage labour. and constitutes a minority wherever it may be. interaction of in livi Ill.. for example. like pastoralism. but rather as a mode of subsistence.\h for the Middle East (Rao 1983) and ntcrnp rary W stern Ewop.wot It 'I 1"1111 11II1III I I III I I.peripat 'Li s. Some years ago I myself (Rao 1982a) suggested the term 'non-food-producing nomads'.. another term proposed by Hayden (1979. . even in the most unfavourable cir. " Gradually. in addition.2 Aparna Rao The concept of peripatetics: an introduction 3 certain kinds of resources . repetitive. Nomadism could logically be associated with the extraction of any of these or with various combinations . gatherers and fishers extract a variety of prey and plants. Is in . began to be applied to. ing h r. and peripatetics in Africa. ". Another term often used in the study of human spatial mobility is circulation. f d and rvi s Iorms tl 'm. I ( 11I1 lion () . just as hunters. pt r in Ihis v( hi III .regard-( ed as a specific mode of production. but this term fails to account for those numerous c mmunities who sell their goods (plus.1J1Iiv·value Ihi 1111'1 II11I (Iljlll II . since in many parts of the world a group. is a kind of resource exploitation. . Nomadism of various degrees can now no longer be seen as a response to the physical environment alone.. Srinivas 1955: 10.1\'olth'l'tllllll 'I • r lis lI~.\ltill' \1(. those of peripatecism are labour. following Baines (1912: 105). but their primary subsistence is derived over long stretches of time from commercialism. depending on the physical environment and the animals herded. il ilit i' ". LUlZ 61: 299) had.. 1986c). their service ). perhaps incidentally. in . Of various ethnic origins and speaking different languages peripatetics are thus defined as primarily non-food-producing/ extracting. customers and skills/goods. " (Chapman I & Prothero 1985: 5). pastoralism. who are more directly dependent on ecological factors. but sell their services. others too took up this line and nomadism. interchange of labour between different modes of production . livestock and pasture. houses (Olesen this volume) or herds (Rauber-Schweizer this volume). 'Service nomads'.'1111 -nts. h·'.III II II II ir in 111 'il a .. an ethnic unit (see Barth 1969: 10-11). Similarly. but data now indicate that this would be too r stri rive. 1979a.. r n kccj i ng with he fa 'I t 11." Mosl f h h... ppc r g nerally t c tt: in hOI11 st sis whi h has been defined by Krebs (I 78: 622) as.UljU. itinerant communities subsisting mainly on the sale of goods and/or more or less specialized services to sedentary and/or nomadic customers (Rao 1985.

1. :' (p. 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). 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).e. 1982b. 11 I Il( n-Io: I-I rorlu 'lioll.. ntinuum. this model would mean that in an environment where resour e are attered unevenly. But like nomadic pastoralists and most hunter-gatherers.iHi I. and in fact. Similarly if mobility and sedentism are viewed a. 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. are generalists .nd s·d '"d III. 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). 11101 ilily . Figure 1 h w ~w dimensional model.food-producing/extracting n· tinuurn.. the Sheikh Mohammadi and the Ghorbat of Afghanistan sell their winnowing fans and sieves respectively (Olesen this volume and Rao 1979.J i h· diffcrcn s and variati ns.~ li. gatherers and pastoral nomads is the characteristically patchy distribution of their resources. i. I. ·ndof. In its most idealized form the peripatetic strategy thus tends tow I" • one end of a non-food-producing .. drawn from ecological studi to ask if and how given communities having for example.. I OIlClllli II I III 11\ "I d If' • '1'1111. "The models of optimal foraging theory .·ll\olli (this volume: h.. In other contexts the peripatetic migration cycle depends on vari u ecological parameters (R.M. h w v r. peripatetics ".ipa.t!··1 I pili.ItlWI dU11l .'s. Similarly. Gmelch and Gmelch describe in their chapter how the rnigration patterns of Irish Travellers are largely determined by occupati nol possibilities.gr··wihMi'h. III . time . tll III I I' I tli I I I .·1 C illt . 11111111 I I II 1111111 I" I \1' it -'II I' I' I 1\ i III Millti I . I1d 'X g..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. Applied to peripatetic. human I gy nd s ici I nnthrc p I gy is n . patchily distributed resources exploit them optimally. Iwc 1'10111 d"l I IV ilnl I n ill \I lid I I IIHII Illh \1''1. In recent years anthropologists have increasingly discussed th usefulness of the optimal foraging theory.. the other end being exemplified by a self-subsistent p . 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. 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. Hayden 1981) and while the income peak of the Xoraxane Rom depend on the local ritual calendar (Piasere chi volume). n community. 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. and the seasonality of resource extraction possibilities.tics have inCom'ffioii-with most hunters. and many peripatetic communities obtain compensation at fixed time of the year for goods and services in seasonal demand. 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.. M r inter 'iv r arcl in tip i ·lls 01 PI' hist ry.. or the herd management routines of nomadic pastoralists upon the patchy and seasonal distribution of pasture and water resources. it is clear that peripatetics along with mobile animal hub nd rs and hunter-gatherers tend towards the mobile end.J. 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.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 .11 'nti. benefits can be maximized nly if the n t r turn g.. 135). peripatetics follow the cycle of the primary resources of their own resources.. I 1111111 IlIIld 11111 II I (II ill I tli IlIdll'. in d can counterbalance the H rt mad ( . In orne parts of th w rId th y ar . peripatetics employ cyclic spatial mobility as a strategy to maximize benefits. also Berland this volume).l..4 Aparna Rao The concept of peripatetics: an introduction 5 chapter. 8) wh '/1 he slIgl' 'sts tlu I il has I "11 • l1lis 1\1<· to 'nil -idcr )( J-I r luc ion. where the degree of mobility and the ext nt f f I. Hunter-gatherers procure various plant material and animals at specific times of the year. this inv Iv s hi till Ih . my. 1981. 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. 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. the agricultural and/or pastoral cycles of their customers.in·l.r·wl··xll.

or 'nyeenyBe' among the Peul (Bollig this volume). vi: als and th law h. I "PIHI ·111111111111 Ii 111.1I '1I. In "urope many of these communities rarely identify with 'Gypsies'.I ng ith r (th. nomadic.WHO!' .. but not all so-called Gypsie can be classified along with peripatetics. nguage traits. but the anthropologist must also be aware that such terms are not only loaded.huntersgatherers or pastoral nomads.and above .which although not Romany are often distinct from I h( sc of the surrounding populations (Rao 1985.111· t h. In non-European contexts there are other generic terms used.lllts and vagabonds .cn vt ri usly d fin d by law maker Illd il is il111101 . o :E • >. 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.111. p rhap th ir at least appar nt ocial marginality in their local con- ••• • •• .. HG or PN . si i 'tol' ..u lh' I hrc I asi 'on ·Iusi ns whi h may be i 'S h. they are vague and often incorrect. ~ • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •••••• •• • •• • •• • • • •• • ••••• • • •• ••••••••• •••• • • • • • • •••• A••• •• se••••••••••• • • • • •• • ~ 3 ::J FOOD max production / extraction Fig. Some. 1981.~ ·Ir h. -xts. 1 Two dimensional model of socio-economic categories which are determined by the degree of mobility and the extent of food production.lPI.. . SC = sedentary commercialists. ti n . although theoretically the primary subsistence resource at any given point of time can be taken as a criterion of definition and distinction.i IlIilll'f. such as '[at' in Afghanistan (Rao 1979.•.r.• .li.m.•FOOD production / extraction max (d. but in terms of their subsistence strategies."1 .•••• • • • ~ 0 cg r- c E L- min • . •• •• • • • • • •• • • • ••• • • • • • • • • • • . Y'!-I" I ' I time and again been termed in many untries been set it."llll'lIltlllttllIIV\·111l1 . wo : xe impli -.Ip. also Bollig this volume)? Likewise would it not be more apt to classify the Pohol of Kashmir (Uhlig 1973. by reason of their itinerancy. also Bollig this volume) diverse peripatetic communities have often been categorized by scientists as 'Gypsies' or .• • • • • • • ~ • • • • . n in psi.•.lt·d in-y'. !III !lividll II/II II Il\lh· III -vl/ioli 11'1 \ \ d-/initioll '.. .. • rn jo '" minor h nil' in th -11\. P 'I"il atcti rnrnuni V. in press a). 6 Aparna Rao The concept of peripatetics: an introduction 7 min a E >< . In Asia and n rthern Africa (d. nor c re they accepted as such by the latter... 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.lh\ I 'I i~1i· applied to I.1I1 ·noldill...'.1S l . • ••••P •••• HG• •• • • • • • • • • • • •• • • • • • • . B. 'nyamakala' among the Bambara. Each of these ideal categories approaches a specific corner of the squar P = peripatetics.linsl lh .. th pr p rti 11 f thi mixtur dep nding n n' p iti 11in ch qu: r Any h. yp y-like'.... their traditional professions. or extraction.'I'll /ii'l 's st·lll.lgl... . Not all 'Gypsies' are nomadic and not all non-pastoral and non-hunting-gathering nomads are 'Gypsies'.or •• co· • • • • • •. not in terms of ethnic or I.. I have suggested elsewhere (Rao in press b) that these terms often represent folk models of specific ethnic categories.• • • • • • • •••• • •••• • • • • PN • G e n e r i c T e r m s. Ih 'i r languages . 'hwach' ok chaein' in Korea (Nemeth this volume). WN I H )/ 'v..... 1986a. endogamous communities all over the world tend generally to be lumped together and labelled as 'Gypsies' or vagrants. Hayden 1981: 346) or as peripatetics who also hunt and gather (d. . in press c) . Rao & Casimir 1985) as 3 a )( peripatetic herdsmen and certain caravaneers in northern Africa as peripatetic traders? In practice this remains a moot point. •.

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

ridiculed and segregated. (l IHlll hi h 'I 'II 1111 ill'.. wrote Garnett (1891: Vol.. peripatetic Russian minstrels (Zguta 1978... 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. III till 1111 1111.. Some cnapt.. I . 1. also Rao in press a? Peri pat ti ' have very often been dubbed parasites and predators (e. Bollig and Casimir.'j th ' hapt r y R ubcr. yet feared. 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. 'Do eri atetics fulfill economic and/or social need f th ' larger society?' To ascertain this.. Can one legitimately consider the 'peripatetic niche' ( f. the norms and values of the p ifi ntext. Barth 1975: 286.10 Aparna Rao The concept of peripatetics: an introduction 11 and rain-makers on the other (Bollig this volume). 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). 1979a. 361) peripatetic ".. 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. LV.. women in certain communities and~ groups in certain contexts (d. populace as .ese~t p~ibilities forbidden by the reality of the . i~ fact to all groups :.. 1n" "I'li 01 tli IlIltllil \I 101. JI1~'ljU and i" rc I rovi I· tOOlI 'x. "the occupations of peddler ..g.. Similarly. detested and despised. The Peripatetic Niche: Symbiosis and Parasitism? ~ vc (\N\ 11\. II· sh< ws lh...) \A «t \... quacks and fortune-tellers eat corpses and practice black magic (Rao 1982b: 31. perform marriages and carryon religious ceremonies. ~e . Iloilil'. or does it vary with the gr up. In Turkey.. but i al 0 cl sely link d t the id I gi •• 1 base. iss I'. I I • I. Illdl" I'd . :' 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.~ ' '0 .111 "lSt . caste spells. such as smiths in very many cultures. 1979b) as unique. I \I I I 11111ltilill . Since the above mentioned vocations were deemed necessary for economic reasons. women are the witches par excellence.? 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. Th n. .111"1~( 'I 1." In northern Afghanistan sedentists believe that the peripatetic Jogi. Berland 1978. II p. 1986a).. The basic point at que ri n is therefore.in this-volume raise these issues and explain how the combination of a low socio-political status and high ritual status function in reality.l1i " I irn: 'III or: Ii. Berland 1982: 76-77). Outcaste groups. Peripatetics are thus despised. According to Sjoberg (1960: 135-137).rip: l uic 'Olll muniti s pI y vari II roles in rh ' lives 0 Ih ' S Irroundinl-l so·i 'li '. it is because of this extra-occupational role that such vocations were viewed with suspicion by the elite in feudal autocratic preindustrial societies . il.)o~.r. pl 11111 IIlld ' III tll II h 11/ I' 11111'1 I 11111111II I 1111111111Ii Ii I 1111111 dIll .1111' " the hI v I. but also to numerous other groups. Bain 1 1 : 109.. An examinati 11 f th Lt. 1IIIIIIil l1iv' 111111111 i 1111' I dllt 11111 ' qllllilillii ·il 1111'Ill' dltltlll II' III II '1'. Illi I· 01 I h • I () iill· vru ill! ion III I . 111I1 1'111 III \I it I 1111 tll.. ill (I 1. immediate and longterm) whi·h are allocated to them as incumbents of these role is required. as Loeb (1977: 96) writes.. served this function well . Table I Set of complementary oppositions between peripatetics and their host societies. Thi implies that peripatetics prey on their hosts. 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. and consequently also with its environment (d.·. tur of both roles and rewards depends largely on the level f dev I pm 'lit of the forces of production. it was advantageous to the authorities to have them filled by people who were not taken seriously by the populace. imply considerable face-to-face interaction with diverse elements of the population. as much feared by the ..hw 'iz -r. Voorheis 1982: 114-115) exemplifies this contradiction.. Goldberg 1978). and on this account . the fate of the Skomoroxi. tion peripatetics entertain with their host societies. ~SO'Clal structure (Lindholm 1981: 521). in this volum th chapters by Salo.. Fisher 1981: 64.

h y • r rt n ntir Jy d ruil1f\ I m nd n n hi. the greater the degree of specialization within the peripatetic community. originally having only sedentary farmer patrons are now also turning to patrons among Fulani and Bugaje pastoral nomads (Erlmann 1981: 74). peripatetics who are neither contiguous. but visit their customers at more or less regular intervals. in press).WI·1l1 h scdcntisc .commercialism . attachment appears frequent with pastoral groups. Peripatetic Anne musicians in Niger.. the nature of the interaction is situated on a continuum between near symbiosis and near parasitism. Hence. especially in non-industrial societies. /< ~ \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).hn -nt c I I l u tI 'I ill~ 0 i ri] I r -n 111. 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.12 Aparna Rao The concept of peripatetics: an introduction 13 tions to the subject. considered as committed to a specialized mode for subsistence . the only instance known to me being that of the Bavarlof Central India (Baines 1912: 105). 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. Purely hunter-gatherer customers are rare.1 In' luv 1. Most of the cases lie somewhere in between these two extremes and their position shifts according to various factors. with the peripatetic always occupying the weaker end of this chain. Peripatetics are compensated by their customers. I I' I II I n 11111 I . Rao 1982b) or at least partly sold at a profit (Berland 1982: 81. I'li ouuuunity. • I' H I II III III 1I1lt! 111'11". 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). with the peripatetics also having sedentary rural customers. in some cases (Barth 1961: 92. Ehmann 1974: 144. il II III. Iran and Baluchistan have at least one peripatetic group living with them. if n t wh lly. Compensati n in services rendered by customer groups or individuals nits mainly. or entirely of pastoral nomads. but also of fodder for pack animals. wherea when th yar • t h d t h ir ust m rs. Within this broad context two patterns of economic and political interaction emerge between peripatetics and their customers: they may be termed contiguity and attachment. Compensation in kind consists primarily of foodstuffs. 2). if each peripatetic community is considered as committed to its own specialized means of production. shifting cultivators. and must vary diachronically. Attachment.-0 e and '. Amanolahi 1978) the nature of the interaction is intermediate between attachment and contiguity. as distinct from other peripatetic communities exploiting the same resources. II I I IltlvlIl \I ill III II II" I I 1111 \ 1111111" II 1\ iv! I t" . In her chapter Olesen describes this barter system at length. While a very large number of pastoral groups in North Africa. may be ob erved when peripatetics live with a given group of customers and w rk primarily.. It appears that the higher and the more constant the rates of exchange. this I liti '. It is doubtful whether there are. it may be considered as occupying a specific niche of its own. on the other hand.1 I III II ~ j I II I I d III.11111 II Illidl 111 I . etc. Since the concept of need is culture specific. An \ ( me f rrn t. In a contigu us ituati n peripatetics may thus be economically dependent n vari u lu t r f customer.nnd al rding t th s cin rnic strucru ) t hci own s -j·t. t I Il10m I I \I I 111'1 I I \ I I i. . Willi I III 11 I I it! Iii I. Peripatetics may be said to be con t i g u 0 u s to their customers when they live primarily independently.nd I. kind or services (see Fig. and shows how barter affects the internal economic organization of the Sheikh Mohammadi of Afghanistan. Th [orrn f thi p tr nag varie a cording to whether hut rn rs rc scdcnu y r n madi . immediately or over longer periods of time in cash. Turkey. Rao & Casimir 1983. Arabia. of granting direct or indirect political patr nag. . By and large while contiguity seems the form of interaction most commonly encountered between peripatetics and sedentist customers. The foodstuffs received are consumed immediately and when there is a surplus it is either stored to be consumed later (Misra 1965: 168. old clothes.all peripatetics as opposed to say all patoral nomads. or again of a combination of the three in varying proportions. shoes. The nature of the compensation is obviously correlated with the customers' socioeconomic conditions. nor attached to their customers. if not exclusively for them.the specific niche of mobile communities offering their goods and services for sale. The customers of a given peripatetic community may consist entirely of sedentary townspeople and/or villagers. etc. On the other hand. may be judged as occupying . sometimes immediately. but more often on a long term basis.

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

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

Whether 'real' or 'a~tificial. uch a 'languag . ihcrs onsi I r tl t . but this is not specific to peripatetics.111in C I" I linllti Ii I 'Idoll I I\ \ I M lh. etc. I III liv I.ir : 11"St r.. J1 til" Ii I III Ii rum: I w.-:47. Lerch 1981). Thus while some 'Gypsy' legends mention the vague part their ancestors played in the crucifixion of Christ. the Adurgan. Even between peripatetics and their contiguous customers. Originally.. generally regarded as the . jajmani being defined as ".ar legend: ry. the language of some peripatetic groups.ld.. Hayden 1981). 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 . g~~slfled .lillH (I( 111 ell' linlllli Ii' 11 n m liv '1111 I IIIif 1. These self-imposed markers must be clearly distinguished from markers which are of great significance for non-group members (d. and in the Middle East these vocabulanes are .tilll' WOIII. (I'. I~'i~' . . I1Ill! ()~I~g . ~hls tongue can be either 'real' or 'artificia~'..'.' 0 Ollllt It III . In his chapter CasaJ~s.i~telligible only among group members.11 PIOI I.· 11 Itl IHIIIII III till I I II III II III lid I I' II Ii III It I Molt 111111) \(1.M.an hl~toncal. relations may be analogous to those of jajmani (Hayden this volume.entions that the Sh . see also R. Misra 1969. but mnny nt m I. (the) t:ansposmon of syllables. literally means '~ecret language' (Weber 1986). The Mid an of Somalia claim descent from Dir. Ih' III I illil I lOW 0111'1 n I I. t nics 10 • ns i usly use i in his rnanncrEvcn within rh« me 'Olllill 1\1(111 ol'illil. Y I rip. Berland 1982: 81.). Also orniniquc s jus r ports cI at while m In. reports th~t the secret language of the Inadan is also formed by the addition of certain prefixes and suffixes (d. Among peripatetics the use of self-imposed ethnic markers separating them from the surrounding populations appears to be characteristic. religious or secular personality Important III t~elr locality. 19~8: 46.. 'I ill I 111111 1111 \I I I' .· I Given their generally precarious social situation in the macro-society. the Gaine of Nepal (Helffer 1977: 51). Kurian & Bhanu 1980 Berland 1982: 62-63. and h Ramosis of western India (Schlaginrweit 1884: 72) claim respectively Ih andharvas and Rama of Hindu mythology as their ancestors. but also that they are territorially organized and that these territories and thus the customers are quite strictly inherited within fixed social units (d. Wiser 1969: 43-44).. and thus intel. n: 'st r's ~ . Rao 1982b. 'I' . In some parts of the world the vocabulan~s of these 'secret languages' are a remarkable mixture d~awn from vanous languages. Ito II . Leonardo Piasere's chapter on the Xoraxane contains a very interesting discussion on the topic of territoriality among peripatetics.irely .. Nomadism and frequent fission of residence units/camps appears to be one fairly common method resorted to when internal conflict situations arise (d. purpose achieved is that of a 'secret language' and III fact It appears that III Egypt rotani." (Ivan ow 1922: 375). although even in India they may not always be recognized as such. peripatetics have to resort to strategies of self-conservation and develop methods to boost their self-esteem (d. Childers 1975: 247. VIII\1 II III I IIl. especially since a group must reside in a given village in order to be officially part of this system (Wiser 1969: 44). Casimir this volume). ?Igar~. ()I' P '1 il ate i f\ 1'\('1I0lli. Language. lnt! lif~ r nt ti ns of th rnrnunity v n disput the de~r e f punt o this I 'S' nt. However even' when the language of the peripatetics is basically the same as that of their clients and customers.ligible to t~e latter.. and at be t only partially intelligible to non-members is the commonest pr tective devic mpl yed by \ peripatetics.18 Aparna Rao The concept of peripatetics: an introduction 19 to their customers entertain jajmani-type relations with them. " (Mandelbaum 1972: 161). in press a). . a!so m.." . Data on the migration patterns of contiguous peripatetics also show clearly that not only are their migration circuits fairly strict. Id st mali stock (Goldsmith & Lewis 1958: 189) and the Ghorbat . essentially those between a food-producing family and the families that supply them with goods and services . of the Sh~lkh Mohammadi of Afghanistan (Olesen this volume. a tendency to use a different lingo among themselv~s ISnoted. including Romany (Rosander 1976: 156. Rao in press b) but may be of little symbolic value for group members. ni tan trace de cent from the assanian monarch Key Kayhan (It 1 82b: 41f£'). (by) the addition of various suffixes . n ·I.. The use of a means of linguistic communication which ~s ent. '1'1111. I~)I.im he Prophet r avid ns ih .ikh M hammadi laim a 1 ally r p t d rchgl u fIgure as ancesto~. genealogy and religion in order of importance are the most common markers within the group. durable relations . also Bollig this volume): . and in certain societies language and religion can also be important markers for non-group members. Gmelch & Gmelch this volume and Berland this volume). rnt y n t hay rv d ih purp F a mark r. Ra~ III ~r~ss c) IS an example of the latter. In her chapter Asta I sen..?f Afgh. I 11'11 '~(II. the lIngUIstIc.~IIl1I1' IllS V )lul. 'III Su h 111.' Peripatetics often boost their self esteem and prestige by ref~rnng to kinihip ties or other (even negative) r~lat~onships tO.

uth f h Ada M Lint. The rigid purity and pollution ideology of some peripatetic 'Gypsies' is an excellent example of this phenomenon. whereas the majority of the sedentists are Sunnis. ther data point towards a peasant origin (d. Gunda 1981. Irsigler & Lassotta 1984).11 h I 1966: 279). and finalI t p ripatetic way of life (Crooke 1888: 69. or nomadic pastoralists. ns s m tirn b ame refugees unable to settle anywhere in the 1111t~ run ( . simultaneously to reduce psychological stress. Finally." vII i liS In. largely because of deforestation (Bhowmick 1973 in Gupta 1976). travelling showmen. beggars (Beckingham & Huntingford 1954: 126).h famines and earthquakes led to hunger and destitution. of peripatetic communities. FinalI . Ancient Japan had itinerant artisans. many of whom were endogamous. pers.nI17Ih' in« v I lou II Hit I 111111 1~lhi I i.g. Arnold I'HO hi \IH't lilt i in 1'1111 i ibe nl ch hi yy r'war I" -.1l C i I livid·1 illf'1 I 111 I III It II rllli I V . 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. The Sassanian monarch Bahram Gur is supposed to have first imported musicians and dancers into Iran and then banished them.). 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 . References are al ~ und to itin rant mmunities of entertainers and arti an in Afri a. pedlars.). Berland this volume) ( r p ripatetics whose ancestors were driven from their lands by agressors (I ughty 1888) or because sudden. . For centuries Europe also has known mobile communities of artisans. which acts as a basic ideology for the community.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). in wh lid t • th ir g ne I g I . 1I . s m peripatetics may have originally been sedentary artisans (de 1'1. f r x m pl in th arly 16th century Le Afri anu m nti 11 d 'll h n munitic. but turned to a peripatetic way of life either because they I st their herds and pastures as an aftermath of war (Doughty 1888). many peripatetics have a distinctive religion or weltanschauung.C. Jacobson (1975: 88) has suggested that the rock shelters of Central India dating from between the 6th and 1st centuries B.I I w hUll I. comm.I l th n buildi: UI. Some peripatetics were originally pastoral nomads (see Bollig. Arnold 1980. while thers settle and become urban merchants (Legesse. Adhikari 1974). Gaheis 1927). but it appears that many contemporary peripatetics evolved from hunter-gatherers. W \I 1st r ught in its wake destruction of the infrastructure and sedenI II ar is. n w mrnuniry.. De Planhol (1966: 278) ha argued for the existence in Central Asia also of itinerant artisan ca t prior to the Genghis Khan era. while \ some were peasants or sedentist craftsmen. 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). Dehhoda 1330 HS). so that they became itinerant (d. Ave-Lallernant 1858. from the 15th century onwards. or due to progressive impoverishment caused for example in Mongolia by xcessive interest paid to moneylenders (Legrand. • I sedentarized fairly early. 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. and perhaps recurring catastrophies. Little empirical data is available about the evolution and development ')'i . and in his chapter David Nemeth cites evidence for such communities in ancient Korea too.har 180: 1 7). 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. . 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. comm. similarly in certain Islamic societies peripatetics are Shias. It i further likely that certain II Iii tctic 111 mun I I arc h ut m findividual getting together I. pers. entertainers and the like (e. Roux this volume). or when hunters and gatherers gradually grew unable to depend on uni-resource ubsistence. and in its own eyes renders it morally superior to all its neighbours. 'Gypsies' could be added to this list. may have been inhabited or visited by nomadic smiths. In his chapter Kaminski examines the use of taboo concepts by 'Gypsies' in their resistance to cultural assimilation and the chapter on the Tahtaci . Berland 1982: 75). 1 2b).rs(13. Bose 1956. of Turkey shows how their belief system protects them against cultural absorption. (Ninomiya 1933: 75-77). w r I J97 . by expansionist peasants or pastoral nomads (Bacon 1954: 48.R. Berland this volume) and in medieval India trade was partly in the hands of peripatetics (Thapar 1966: 295). It is also known that travelling entertainers were part of the ancient Indian scene (Basham 1954: 209-210.

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

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