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Walking the Line: movement, culture and politics on the Jordan Trail

Mason, Olivia R. (2019) Walking the Line: movement, culture and politics on the Jordan Trail. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.

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This thesis examines the intersections of movement and cultural politics along the Jordan Trail, a 650km long-distance walking trail in the Middle East. It aims to reorientate political geographical accounts of Jordan to the everyday, intimate, and embodied scale through an exploration of the Jordan Trail and the bodies who walk it. This thesis argues that walking bodies on the Jordan Trail capture intimate and embodied accounts of place that speak back to state-centric accounts of Jordan. This thesis proposes a politics of movement that steps away from Eurocentric and Anglo-American accounts of movement and brings political geography and cultural geography into conversation. By exploring cultural practices in Jordan, this thesis foregrounds and analyses accounts of place that have been neglected within current explorations of Jordan and within cultural geography as a discipline.

Through 12 months of ethnographic fieldwork in Jordan and around 2,000 hours on the Jordan Trail, this thesis syntheses and innovates cultural politics and movement in three ways. First, this thesis explores the production of the line of the Jordan Trail and how movements that challenge those of colonial border drawing are captured by the Trail. Second, by interacting with bodies that walk on the Trail I explore how embodied and intimate relationships with land challenge territorial nationalist claims and capture alternative and indigenous narratives and relationships with place. Third, I argue walking creates moments for new political communities to form. It creates moments for Jordanians, Bedouins, and international tourists to touch. These moments of touch bring bodies, objects, and animals into proximity to create meaningful interactions. This thesis concludes that examining a long-distance walking trail brings together political and cultural geography to speak back to state-centric and colonial narratives, explore a non-Eurocentric politics of movement, and capture intimate, indigenous, and embodied relationships with place.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Keywords:Jordan, postcolonialism, movement, walking, trail, culture, politics, nationalism, lines, indigenous, Bedouin, encounter.
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Social Sciences and Health > Geography, Department of
Thesis Date:2019
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:02 Nov 2022 09:43

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