chapter  9
Microcosm bazaar
Markets as places of cultural encounters and areas of conflict
WithFrank Grüner
Pages 14

Mobility lies at the heart of transculturality. In order to elucidate this linkage, it might suffice to recall the predominant terminology of transcultural studies: one of the latter’s most striking characteristics is the extent to which its semantics are marked by the language of movement. ‘Mobilities’ has become a paradigm of the social sciences since the 1990s, undoubtedly due to intensified mobility and the effects of globalization. At the beginning of the twenty-first century, mass migration from North Africa and the Middle East to Europe is marking the Mediterranean and its perception across the world. Mediterranean medieval mercenaries are glaring examples of the sometimes surprising forms mediation and diplomacy could take in the premodern interface between Europe and Africa. Transculturation was contested on several levels and by a number of societal groups, particularly by jurists and theologians who criticized employing ‘blasphemers’. Ascribed religious and ethnic purity and impurity were employed as segregational devices precisely in order to curb transculturation.