International Journal of
Sociology and Anthropology

  • Abbreviation: Int. J. Sociol. Anthropol.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 2006-988X
  • DOI: 10.5897/IJSA
  • Start Year: 2009
  • Published Articles: 305

Full Length Research Paper

Road wanderers in Brazil: A study on modern psychosocial human mobility

José Sterza Justo1 and Eurípedes Costa do Nascimento1,2
  1Department of School and Evolutionary Social Psychology, Universidade Estadual Paulista/Campus de Assis, São Paulo, Brazil. 2Correspondence to: Avenida Dom Antonio, 2100 (Parque Universitário), Cep 19806-900, Assis (SP) - Brazil.
Email: [email protected]

  •  Accepted: 16 April 2012
  •  Published: 31 May 2012


Human mobility patterns are quite diverse nowadays and a very singular, extreme pattern is seen in the Brazilian scene: road wandering. Road wanderers are individuals who leave their home, family, work and other territories of a settled life and throw themselves into a life of solitary wandering along Brazilian highways. This study aimed to describe the lifestyle of road wanderers, investigate the reasons that led them choose this way of living and understand it against a background of modern human mobility patterns. A total of 63 interviews were conducted with individuals wandering on road shoulders. We found road wandering is associated with the following determinants: poverty; unemployment; marital conflicts; emotional suffering following the loss of loved ones; desires for adventure and freedom; and cultural symbols related to journey, migration, exodus and other modes of displacement. Despite its particularities, road wandering can be understood as a way of human mobility in the modern world.


Key words: Wandering, road wanderer, mobility, migration.