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Nomadic Peoples Journal

Current Issue: Volume 18 Number 1

Full-text PDFs of this issue are available from the Berghahn

The Emerging World of Pastoralists and Nomads

Dawn Chatty
Obituary of Pierre Bonte (1942-2013) with a Select Bibliography of his Major Works
Barbara Casciarri, John G. Galaty
Translocal Practices on the Tibetan Plateau: Motorised Mobility of Pastoralists and Spatial Transformations
Lilian Iselin
Tibetan pastoralist communities in Amdo, the north-eastern region of the Tibetan plateau, have undergone tremendous change due to a number of state induced modernisation processes. Road infrastructure is but one development that aims to facilitate transition from subsistence to a market economy and to link remote pastoralist production into the global or regional market. This paper starts from the local perspective and examines how the expansion of road infrastructure and increased ownership of motorised vehicles has impacted on the mobility of pastoralists. It argues that motorisation and the increased availability of roads creates an interface for pastoralists through which they negotiate a newly emerging translocality. Roads are embedded into everyday movements and provide pastoralists with ways to integrate new developments into their lives.
Ambiguities of Space and Control: When Refugee Camp and Nomadic Encampment Meet
Alice Wilson
This article explores sedentarisation as a process of inherent tension between the rupture and preservation of values associated with mobility. This tension is compelling when mobile pastoralists settle in refugee camps. Refugee camps may resemble nomadic encampments in material infrastructure and (alleged) non-permanence. Yet refugee camps contrast with nomadic encampments in facilitating control and evoking, through its disruption, rootedness. In the case of refugees of mobile pastoralist heritage from the disputed territory of Western Sahara, the tension in the meeting of nomadic encampment and refugee camps sees the nomadic encampment reproduced and transformed in the refugee camp. This creates ambiguities of space and control.
'They Talk to Us but Never Listen to Us': Development-Induced Displacement among Syria's Bedouin
Haian Dukhan
The Bedouin constitute an important part of Syrian society, having pursued a nomadic way of life in the Syrian steppe (al-Badia) for centuries. However, since the 1960s, new challenges have emerged that threaten the Bedouin way of survival and their culture in Syria. Economic and environmental factors in addition to government policies have threatened desert culture and the traditional livelihoods of the Bedouin and have pushed them to give up their life in the desert and move to live on the outskirts of cities. Through a synthesis of ethnographic, economic, environmental and geographical data, this paper will explore changes among the Bedouin, with specific interest in how they relate to resettlement in terms of 'development-induced displacement'. The Bedouin in Syria, like mobile indigenous people all over the world, are facing a combination of challenges, from extreme climatic and environmental changes to increasing marginalisation and sedentarisation by the governments of the countries they live in. They also find it hard to influence policy-making in any projects initiated by international development agencies on their lands and migratory routes. This study will shed light on the policies of the Syrian government and international development agencies in dealing with the Bedouin in Syria and investigate how these policies have contributed to Bedouin settlement.
'Unused' Land and Unfulfilled Promises: Justifications for Displacing Communities in East Africa
Collins Odote
Recent studies of large-scale land acquisitions, colloquially known as 'land grabbing', have reviewed factors driving international land deals, conditions that make regions vulnerable to land loss and anticipated outcomes for current land holders. Diverse audiences are persuaded by justificatory narratives of the reasonableness of transfers of land rights. which explain away large-scale transfers of land from farmers to commercial enterprises in order to disarm critics and agents of resistance, and establish a foundation of ideas that underpins perceived reality. With reference to cases of systematic dispossession in East Africa, this paper will focus on three types of pragmatic narratives used to justify land appropriation: the type-casting of lands and resident populations being targeted, the often utopian goals of development being pursued and the investment commitments being made. It asks whether the rationales that underpin large-scale land allocations by states reflects the type of utilitarian logic depicted by Rawls in his work on theories of justice, where hypothetical theories of end-goals are used to abrogate concrete rights held by actual individuals and communities.
Ethiopia's Pastoralist Policies: Development, Displacement and Resettlement
Elliot Fratkin
Ethiopia's current economic plans call for extensive development along its riverine resources in lowland regions, areas typically occupied by pastoral and agro-pastoral peoples. These plans include the development of large dams for hydroelectric power and irrigating large agricultural estates producing sugar, cotton and rice in state-run and privately owned businesses. Nearly all of these projects entail the relocation and resettlement of populations away from the rivers, and threaten the livelihoods and way of life of small but distinct ethnic groups. Although criticised widely by international human rights organisations, the Ethiopian government maintains these developments will ultimately benefit both affected populations and the country as a whole. This paper reviews particular development projects on the Omo River and Awash River and in Gambela Region, and refers to works by NGOs and human rights organisations seeking alternative approaches to resettlement.
Cattle Reduction and Livestock Diversification among Borana Pastoralists in Southern Ethiopia
Did Boru, Moshe Schwartz, Michael Kam, A. Allan Degen
Recurring droughts have induced many pastoralist groups in Africa to raise more drought-tolerant livestock as a coping strategy. Borana, traditional cattle pastoralists in southern Ethiopia, are one of these groups and have resorted to including more drought-tolerant camels and shoats (sheep and goats) among their livestock. We hypothesised that this livestock diversification would vary according to geographic location (drought severity, proximity to Somalis and to an urban centre) and resources available (wealth, labour) and predicted that: (1) wealthier Borana would be more inclined towards the risky but promising strategy of raising camels, whereas poorer ones would prefer the less prestigious but also less risky shoats; (2) more labour would allow more flexibility in livestock diversification; and (3) the biggest shift in livestock composition would occur in Bulbul, as this kebele (pastoralist association) is the most drought-prone. To test our predictions, we combined qualitative and quantitative methods to examine four kebeles in the Liben wereda (district) of southern Ethiopia. From 2000 to 2011, number of cattle declined by 25.1 and 41.4 head per household (or between 41.9 per cent and 69.0 per cent) in the four kebeles. There was a significant positive relationship between present-day camel numbers and cattle numbers and between the change in camel numbers between 2000 and 2011 and the number of cattle in 2000 in all kebeles. Thus, as predicted, wealthier households - that is, those with the most present day cattle - have the most camels and households that had the most cattle in 2000 were able to add the most camels over the past 11 years. Number of wives had a significant effect on cattle, camels, shoats and total livestock units (TLU) in all kebeles, except Siminto. In Siminto, number of wives affected camels and shoats and number of girls affected cattle and TLU. Siminto, the kebele closest to an urban centre, turned more to land cultivation than the other kebeles, which occupied much of the wives' time. Of the four kebeles, livestock numbers and diversification were lowest in Siminto and, thus, livestock husbandry required the least amount of labour. Girls were able to contribute positively towards this labour. Our prediction that the biggest shift in livestock would occur in Bulbul was not supported. Camels and shoats were most common in Hadhessa and Qorati, which are close to camel-raising Somalis, implying that Borana in these kebeles learnt camel husbandry from the Somalis. Many Borana still preferred cattle to other livestock, but were becoming increasingly aware of the economic value of camels and of the importance of shoats.
Book Review
Review of Pastoralist Landscapes and Social Interaction in Bronze Age Eurasia, by Michael D. Frachetti
Reviewed by: Alison Betts
Review of Making a Living in Uncertainty: Agro-Pastoral Livelihoods and Institutional Transformations in Post-Socialist Rural Kyrgyzstan, by B. Steimann
Reviewed by: Henri Rueff and Inam Rahim
Review of Change in Democratic Mongolia: Social Relations, Health, Mobile Pastoralism, and Mining, ed. Julian Dierkes
Reviewed by: Jeremy Swift

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