DOI link for Mental Topographies
Mental Topographies book
This chapter explains the lack of rain during the rainy season rapidly translates into a temporary degradation of pastures and thus a demand for movement on the part of the nomadic pastoralists inhabiting this landscape. The notion of a 'fluid' nomadic landscape is attractive to the analysis of social life in south-eastern Mauritania, which indeed operates through the distribution of animals in an open space or in an ecological environment. Such an environment is characterized by an ephemeral topography, and by what has been called a 'space of circulation'. Mohamed Salem, a nomadic herdsman belonging to a faction of the Hamonat tribal confederation dispersed across the south-eastern part of Mauritania, was out herding his goats with his youngest son in the pastoral zone known as Teyarett. That same evening, a lonely herdsman approached Mohamed Salem's tent. He confirmed that the man had a small group of camels with this distinct mark, and started to describe their appearance in remarkable detail.