Road Construction, Gendered Mobilities and Pastoralism in

Road Construction, Gendered Mobilities and Pastoralism in Shimshal, Gilgit-Baltistan, Pakistan
Critical mobilities scholarship traces how mobility discourses, practices and platforms shape social
realities by engendering movement and stasis in differentiated ways. From a
‘politics of mobility’ vantage point, differentiated mobilities asymmetrically configure livelihood strategies,
access to social services and political participation, thereby structuring social hierarchies, including
conceptions and performances of gender. Feminist geographers have examined how gendered power
relations are embedded in various forms of (im)mobility in various social contexts and what mobility or a
lack of mobility means to gendered lives. But little attention has been paid to how altered mobility logics
and regimes of movement reconfigure gendered mobilities and social arrangements. We address this
latter question by drawing on an ethnographic study of road construction in Shimshal, a small agricultural
village in the Karakoram mountains of northern Pakistan. As vehicular mobility replaces a pedestrian
mobility regime, new mobile relations are reshaping everyday life, including the performativity of gender.
We tease apart the complex relationship between vehicular mobility and gender relations at a variety of
scales, focussing primarily on community herding practices and spaces.
Session organisers:
David Butz & Nancy Cook, Brock University, Canada