Cfp: Special issue: Off the Grid, Underground and on the Road in Europe.

Cfp: Special issue: Off the Grid, Underground and on the Road in Europe.

The Anthropological Journal of European Cultures is a biannual peer-reviewed academic journal that was established in 1990 as the Anthropological Yearbook of European Cultures. The journal is part of the Berghahn Open Anthro subscribe-to-open (S2O) initiative.  Journal Homepage:

The Anthropological Journal of European Cultures (cover)

As COVID-19 profoundly impacts social, political, economic, and cultural landscapes, individuals are again becoming deeply self-oriented and dis-embedding from family and work-routines. Phrases such as the ‘Great Resignation’ have come to be used to describe the mismatch between what societies and businesses can offer and what individuals are seeking. While some individuals are exploring various post-family relationships and new coworking environments, such as digital nomadism, others are accepting beliefs and values which may contradict those in the dominant culture. They are forging new personal identities through detachment, withdrawal and the acceptance of values, views and norms of loose collectives, groups, neo-tribes and communities. Many do so by travelling, as they search for enhanced social solidarity, mutual dependency, a means to rediscover the lost potentialities of the self and escape absent futures. However, mobility is a relational and intersectional category, given mobility is thoroughly embedded in, and intersects with issues of class, race, education, gender, sexuality, and the state and state power. 

Escape, withdrawal, detachment and opting out from entrenched positions within specific political and economic contexts is often associated with affluent, and able-bodied westerners. While some may detach to escape sheer injustice, those with privilege can choose to re-join the system at any time. While detachment is not always a radical societal rejection, it can provide a literal breathing space and a learning opportunity to cultivate one’s identity, by altering dispositions, orientations and patterns of action. Joining communities, groups and neo-tribes with a mutual aid and do-it-yourself approach, for example, can lead individuals to learn and embody alternative approaches to the construction of identities, knowledge systems, and forms of social organisation. This may mark a point of reorientation, in which predominant future perspectives may be confirmed, renegotiated, or shifted. 

Little is known about the impulses that push individuals towards self-investment in various communities, tribes and collectives, and what holds their subjective emotional investment together over time. Like the ‘underground’ in the 1960’s, many of these communities and participants overlap, with boundaries between particular communities and tribes becoming more permeable. This special issue is interested in those cultural formations, tribes and communities on the move across Europe. From those moving to and from ecovillages, intentional communities and transformational festivals, to new age travellers, the Rainbow Family, WOOFers, hitchhikers and anti-border groups, as well as climate activists (like Extension Rebellion), these formations are developing complex networks and utilising broad infrastructural grids across Europe.

We invite scholars to submit theoretical work, case studies and empirical research, for the purpose of expanding our understanding of mobility cultures in Europe. The special topics might include:

Nomad houses

Hospitality exchange

Wild camping / microadventures 

Neo-nomads, Vanlifers, New Age Travellers, the New Gypsies, the Rainbow Family, WOOFers, hitchhikers, anti-border groups, climate activists; New road and offroad cultures, Off grid communities/ intentional communities;

Travel as resistance, survival and an alternatives to societal values;

Conflicts – tensions and frictions with and across cultures, communities and societies;

Urban cultures – bikelife, train surfing, wheelie kids, the urban dirt bike culture;

The re-emergence of the counterculture and re-signified and re-circulated imaginaries;

‘Just transition’ issues from petrol to electric engines/vehicles;

Road kill;

Alternative pilgrimages;

Train, Bus and Boat Cultures;

Commodification and capture.

Submission Deadlines and guidelines:

One-page abstract due (no more than 500 words): Thurs 28 October 2021

To clearly address the focus, submitted abstracts should outline the context(s) of study, perspectives/approaches adopted, main findings where appropriate, and potential contributions of the undertaking.

Full paper due: Sunday Feb 27 2022

All papers are to be peer reviewed before possible inclusion in the special issue.

Submission Guidelines: Papers submitted must not have been published, accepted for publication, or be under review for publication elsewhere. Manuscripts should be prepared according to the journal’s “Instructions for Authors.” Abstracts should be submitted as an email attachment to the guest editor at the following address:

Dr Michael O’Regan Swansea University, UK

For further information about the Anthropological Journal of European Cultures, please contact the Co-Editor Patrick Laviolette (Masaryk Univ. Brno, Czechia)