Stuck on a muddy road: frictions of mobility amongst urban Toba in northern Argentina

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This article explores how the Toba, an indigenous group in the North of Argentina, shape places and an urban subjectivity in the frictions of their mobility between villages, the urban barrio (neighborhood), and the periurban bush. I argue that the experience of Toba moving to the city is better understood as frictions between the Toba desire to progress in the city, the organization of difference in space, and their multiple movements "back" to the villages. In addition, I analyze their contemporary hunting trips, which take urban Toba to the nearby bush, as a mobility that shapes a form of indigeneity engaged with access to both the city center and the bush. This practice confronts them with ranch owners and police but reconnects the barrio and the bush by traversing them. If frictions emerge between forces that trigger movement and forces that slow that movement down, in the frictions of mobility the Toba have at once shaped their position in the city and overflowed its limits. © 2011 Copyright Taylor and Francis Group, LLC.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)599-619
Number of pages21
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2011


  • Toba Indians
  • Identity (Anthropological concept)
  • Migration, Internal
  • Rural-urban relations


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