Evolving humanity, emerging worlds
Manchester, UK; 5th-10th August 2013
Lost in mutation: pastoral development rhetoric of the third millennium (IUAES Commission on Nomadic Peoples)
Location University Place 1.218
Date and Start Time 09 Aug, 2013 at 09:00
Dryland pastoral production systems and our understanding of them are changing fast but so are old misconceptions and misrepresentations of mobile pastoralism, ever adapting to changing policy and scientific environments.
The literature on the 'myths' of pastoral development - from Fratkin et al. 1994 to Jeremy Swift's paper for GDI in 2003 - has been very helpful in many respects. However, misconceptions and misrepresentations are mutating at fast pace and we are now faced with new much more aggressive and programmatic strands.
The myths of pastoral development we had all become familiar with were a mixture of legacy from the colonial time, bureaucratic inertia, and bad science. This new rhetoric makes use of them, but goes well beyond, showing an energy and a clarity of vision (within the misconception) that the old myths never had. If the old myths served to justify neglect, these new arguments seem more driven by the prospect of present and substantial gains...
The panel is dedicated to the analysis of these mutating arguments in the rhetoric and narratives of pastoral development and relevant contexts, from policy-making, to fund-raising, institutional science and global knowledge-management.
Discussant: Caroline Dyer
This panel is closed to new paper proposals.
Rejecting Authenticity: Development Processes in the Jiddat il-Harasiis
This paper examines the developmental processes, both national and international, which have been used to reject the claims of authenticity of the pastoral nomads of the central desert of Oman. Surrounded by Western biodiversity protection schemes and multi-national oil exploitation, these communities are gradually being dislocated, displaced and dispossessed.
The pastoral nomads of Oman have been, for centuries, the sole human inhabitants of the country's central desert. Mobility over the vast and largely inhospitable rock and gravel plain has been the principle feature of their livelihood focused on camel transport and latterly on trucks. Recent decades in Oman have seen increasing efforts by government, international conservation agencies and multi-national extractive industries to re-describe and classify this land as 'terra nullius'. Efforts to move these peoples out of their encampments, to settle them in government housing, and to turn them into cheap day laborers all point to the rejection of these peoples' claims of belonging to the landscapes of the desert. This paper examines these developmental processes and explores the ways in which the pastoral nomads have responded by becoming more mobile, by adapting their living and herding arrangements, and by silently resisting efforts to reject their authenticity.
Sahelian drought: local versus national / international notions and responses (Central Niger)
Chronic drought-linked crisis in the Sahel is explored through confronting the differing and often contradictory notions held, and consequent actions taken, by the various parties involved in particular local pastoralists and agro-pastoralists versus national and international institutions.
A major international humanitarian organisation announced in March 2012 that
urgent action was needed to stop drought in West Africa's Sahel region turning into a humanitarian disaster affecting 13 million people. The paper tries to understand how and why drought-triggered crisis has become more and more frequent and severe in the Sahel in spite of decades of development aid efforts to combat it, by focusing on one aspect: the variety of notions used by the different actors involved to describe the crisis as they perceive it, and the consequent variety of strategies used in addressing the problem and seeking to improve the situation in the future. The principal actors are taken to be: 1. pastoralist and agro-pastoralist producers in Central Niger 2. their community leaders and local office-holders 3. the Niger government as reflected in its policies affecting the region, and 4. external humanitarian and aid organisations supporting local drought-linked initiatives. The paper argues that the lack of progress in preventing what is interpreted in the international media as 'drought-linked humanitarian disaster' can be best understood through an appreciation of the widely differing and sometimes contradictory notions, held by the various parties involved, concerning what the problem is and what to do to improve the situation.
Politics, conflicts and pastoral land use in the post-Soviet era: the Republic of Dagestan
The proposed paper analyses the political rhetoric on the issue of land legally recognised as seasonal pasture in the Republic of Dagestan, one of the North Caucasus regions of the Russian Federation. This land is at the centre of resource, administrative and ethnic conflicts.
The proposed paper analyses the political rhetoric on pastoral land use and tenure in the Republic of Dagestan, one of the North Caucasus regions of the Russian Federation.
"The land for seasonal grazing" - a legally determined category of land - is the legacy of the Soviet institutional framework. In the Soviet period these significant plots on the plain were recognised as winter seasonal pastures of the collectives located in the mountains. Today these territories, populated by migrants from the mountains, are utilised for year-round grazing, agriculture and residential areas. However, legislation regarding land use still limits the use of these plots to grazing and forage produce and so renders permanent settlements of the mountain migrants illegal.
The land is at the centre of resource conflicts between the locals and the migrants while its status is actively manipulated by various actors. The territory itself spans two different jurisdictions, and thus is subject to the delineation of responsibilities between the mountain local governance and the plain district authorities. Its seasonal grazing status is used as an argument to support the claims of mountain communities. Using this same argument, the land has been recognised to be the property of the region, manifesting one more level of political interest. Furthermore, the varying ethnic identities of the local population and the migrants make the "seasonal grazing land" the subject of interethnic confrontation urged forward by ethnic elites.
'Quality over Quantity' Rhetoric in Pastoral Development: Stocking Decisions and 'Rationality' in a Risky Climate
Drawing from research in Niger and Mongolia, this paper focuses on "quality over quantity" rhetoric, which development practitioners use to encourage pastoralists to decrease the size of their herds in order to increase the fitness of the remaining livestock.
Destocking is purported to lead to greater resilience to droughts in Niger and to winter disasters, called zud, in Mongolia. In addition, proponents of destocking suggest that fewer but healthier animals are more economically productive, in terms of meat, dairy, wool, etc., than larger numbers of animals that are unhealthy due to competition for scarce resources. The paper examines destocking rhetoric and related development strategies in relation to tragedy of the commons theory and mutable conceptions of economic rationality. According to Hardin's classic theory, pastoralists who contribute to 'overstocking' the range can be considered 'rational,' if unwise, since it makes sense for individuals to prioritize their own short-term interests when resources are open to all. Despite the popularity of this logic among policy makers, in practice, pastoralists who appear to seek to 'maximize' the size of their herds on open range are treated by development practitioners and administrators not as rational actors but as irrational. A development priority in both Niger and Mongolia is to lead pastoralists to understand that the 'appropriate' response to climate risk is to sell livestock, thus decreasing grazing pressure, and then use the money to buy supplemental fodder for the remaining animals. The persistent view of pastoralists' herd management as 'irrational' derives in large part from stereotypes of 'backward' nomads, whose decisions are supposedly culturally determined and pragmatically unsound.
"Hunger is the killer of children and women": state discourses for pastoral sedentarization in Africa
An analysis from programme and policy documents, with particular reference to Uganda, of the wide range of new and recycled discourses on pastoralism now used by African governments to pre-empt or bypass the pro-pastoralism arguments of NGOs and researchers
Arguments of researchers and NGOs on the intrinsic rationality and sustainability of pastoralism and the need to address the external drivers of pastoral poverty have become largely mainstreamed in the discourses of development donors. However African governments are now using a wide range of new and recycled discourses on pastoralism, singly and in new combinations, to counter these arguments. These include a familiar "modernization" discourse, conceiving pastoralism as less evolved way of life, and one that fails to contribute to national agricultural, economic and developmental goals. Science, and the supposed availability of new technical solutions for the rangelands, are called in aid of modernization. The need to reduce insecurity and extend "law and order" is highlighted, while the complex roles of African states in insecurity in pastoral areas are glossed over. Newer discursive strategies address the supposed non-viability of pastoralism in the face of recurrent drought and climate change, "food aid dependency", the assumed inhumanity to women and children of perversely maintaining pastoralism, and the need to counter "romanticism", implicitly the romanticism of NGOs and some donors. This paper analyses programme and policy documents to identify these strategies, with particular reference to Uganda and its policy of sedentarization and modernization in the Karamoja region. Discursive strategies are analysed in close relation to strategies of government (in the Foucauldian sense) and through the lens of biopolitics; but also, taking account of Agamben's critique of Foucault, in relation to the continuing exercise of sovereignty over the "bare life" of pastoralists.
Pastoralists groups in Eastern Sudan: livelihood systems, migration and the question of integration
This paper deals with the issues of livelihood systems, migration and integration concerning pastoralists groups in Eastern Sudan. In this concern, governmental policies and massive population and animal increase and how they have affected the nature of migrations plus the question of integration will be central issues.
This paper deals with three main issues concerning pastoralists groups in Eastern Sudan region. These issues are livelihood systems, migration and the question of integration. More precisely, the paper will try to answer the following questions: what are the main livelihood systems practiced by pastoralists groups in Eastern Sudan? What is the nature of migrations (historical and recent) observed in this area? What is the nature of integration processes of these pastoralists with the settled communities of the farmers groups as well as with the larger economic and administrative systems?
The paper depends on information collected during my PhD fieldwork in Gedaref state, Eastern Sudan between April 2011 and May 2012. For the purposes of this paper, a comparison will be made between three main pastoralists groups that include the Fulbe, the Beni Amir and the Lahaween. The selection of these groups stems from the fact that they are among the most biggest and influential pastoralists groups in South Gedaref.
The main argument adopted by this paper is that land and administrative policies practiced in this area by the successive Sudanese states, particularly the current state, together with the massive increase of human and animal populations in this area have created a land scarcity. Consequently, the livelihood systems of these groups have been enormously endangered. Moreover, the observed former safe migrations as well as the peaceful integrations, particularly between pastoralists and farmers communities, have been negatively affected. The key methods used during the fieldwork were participant observation, interviews and genealogies.
Characterisation of what? A closer look at the assumptions behind the characterisation of pastoralists' livestock as 'low-performance' breeds
Scientific breed characterisation embodies assumptions about forms of animal production. The study of successful pastoral systems shows that they produce by following a fundamentally different approach to the use of animals and environment. Is characterisation of pastoral breeds missing its target?
Local breeds, especially livestock raised in pastoral systems, are commonly characterised as 'low-performance' breeds. This characterisation goes hand in hand with popular narratives of pastoral systems as poorly productive and indeed barely able to sustain themselves. When such narratives are placed under scrutiny, they clash with a growing body of information on the often very significant contribution pastoral systems make to their respective national economies. Similarly, the study of breeding and production strategies in pastoral systems has drawn attention to the central role that human-animal-environment interaction plays in production and to the economic opportunities of harnessing rather than avoiding environmental variability. This calls for a reconsideration of the universality of current scientific standards used in breed characterisation. This paper uses case studies from two pastoral systems, Rendille camel keepers in Kenya and WoDaabe cattle keepers in Niger to challenge the assumptions behind the standard methods of breed characterisation, by showing why meaningful characterisation of local breeds needs to take into account the relationship between livestock breeding populations and the particularity of their systems of production. In discussing standards of breed characterisation and the operational notion of 'animal genetic resources' in light of current understanding of pastoral production systems the paper also contributes to the debate on the conservation of domestic animal diversity.
This panel is closed to new paper proposals.