The origin of the word ‘nomad’ is not, as many have assumed, a romanticized image of actual nomadic peoples, such as the Bedouins, but rather Immanuel Kant’s disparaging claim that the outside of philosophy is a wasteland fit only for nomads. The immediate origin of the concept would seem to be Deleuze and Guattari’s discussion of the despot in L’Anti-Oedipe (1972), translated as Anti-Oedipus (1977). The despot is an intermediate figure between the primitive society without a state on the one hand and the so-called civilized imperial state on the other.

What is crucial about the concept , however, is the fact that in Deleuze and Guattari’s description it refers to a latent state of being, meaning it is virtual and presupposed, but never actual. The figure of the nomad stands for the power of the virtual, or what they call the war machine. The nomad is a tendency towards deterritorialization, Deleuze and Guattari argue, that can be found to some degree in all phenomena. Their project consists in identifying this tendency wherever it can be located and finding ways of amplifying it. A philosophy would be a great philosophy, not if it could be placed within a specific and limited territory of reason (such as a correct and consistent logic) but if it maximized what philosophy could do and created a territory: creating concepts and styles of thought that opened up new differences and paths of thinking.

The signifier holds no sovereignty over interpretation in this account, for intensity of experience is more important than meaning. The signifier is not the determinant of what is signified, for the significations of the text change with the placement of the text in context.

In this sense, nomadic space is smooth-not because it is undifferentiated, but because its differences are not those of a chessboard (cut in advance, with defined movements); the differences establish positions and lines by movement.

A tribe dreams about, crosses and dances a space and thus fills the territory from within; the real territory — the material extension held by this tribe which could then be measured and quantified — would be different from (and dependent on) the abstract, nomadic territory, for if the tribe went on, danced and dreamed elsewhere, the original territory would have been already there.

And if the first territory was crossed by other people, the space would be crossed by different maps. There is not one map that stands out and defines space. Or is there?Ric Amurrio