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This is a revised version of the Annual Elizabeth Colson Lecture, sponsored by the Refugee Studies Centre, University of Oxford and delivered at Rhodes House, Oxford on 12 May, 2004. Turton discusses the need for a theory of place that applies as much to the world of late modernity as to the pre-modern world, and helps us to understand what happens when pre-modern meets, and is overtaken by, modern. To this end, he examines what are called the ‘spatial practices’ of a small group of people who live in Southern Ethiopia.

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