Tibetan and Himalayan Library - THL

THL Title Text
Of Horses and Motorbikes
Lilian Iselin, University of Bern
JIATS, no. 6 (December 2011), THL #T5716, pp. 429-450
Section 5 of 5 (p. 18)

Conclusion: The Horse and the Local, the Motorbike and the Global

Pastoral spatiality is made into place by movement, by riding the land, getting to know it from the back of the horse. It has impacted the sense of being of the pastoralists and has made horsemanship an integral part of their culture and way of life. Is this now being contested by the motorbike? Will movement and the making of place in the pastoral context in the future be achieved by motorized vehicles? This paper cannot give a conclusive answer to such questions and it is not its intent. However, as this preliminary study has attempted to show, pastoral spatiality has been overlaid with new and different sets of meanings in the context of a modernity located in an “urban center” and that which it has come to represent. This has led to shifts and disjunctures that are negotiated by the motorbike. This “urban center” has opened alternative dimensions of space. It has no ties to the past, but is rather to be understood as reaching forward, representing modernity and progress. The “urban center” offers a spatiality that goes beyond the traditional. It ties into notions of globalization and modernity. Pastoralists have not just been passive recipients of developments linked to this modernity. Instead they are appropriating it and, by employing the motorbike, creating means and ways to actively engage with it. Processes of place-making have thus become more complex as new layers of meaning have been added. Movement has taken on new directions and for the direction opened up by a perceived modernity, a modern means – the “motorized horse” – is employed.

Note Citation for Page

Lilian Iselin, “Of Horses and Motorbikes: Negotiating Modernities in Pastoral A mdo, Sichuan Province,” Journal of the International Association of Tibetan Studies, no. 6 (December 2011): , http://www.thlib.org?tid=T5716 (accessed ).

Note Citation for Whole Article

Lilian Iselin, “Of Horses and Motorbikes: Negotiating Modernities in Pastoral A mdo, Sichuan Province,” Journal of the International Association of Tibetan Studies, no. 6 (December 2011): 429-450, http://www.thlib.org?tid=T5716 (accessed ).

Bibliography Citation

Iselin, Lilian. “Of Horses and Motorbikes: Negotiating Modernities in Pastoral A mdo, Sichuan Province.” Journal of the International Association of Tibetan Studies, no. 6 (December 2011): 429-450. http://www.thlib.org?tid=T5716 (accessed ).