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27-31 August 2019
Poznań, Poland
Europe/Warsaw timezone
programme last update: 23 August 2019
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Researching Pastoral Solidarities: Exploring Methods and Frameworks [Commission on Nomadic Peoples]


Location: Poznań, Poland
Date: 29 Aug 11:00 - 17:15


Inspired by the platform “pastoralism methodologies”, we call for abstracts which challenge underlying assumptions of conventional research methodologies when applied to the study of mobile pastoralists. The urge to work on research methodologies derives from an identified gap in literature. Renewed theoretical understandings of both rangeland ecology and pastoral strategies, have in fact remained unfollowed by discussions about what methods we apply when researching mobile people. Out of this gap, ‘scientific facts’ are produced and used by policy-makers, even though these may not be methodologically sound for the contemporary contexts of mobile people. It is therefore crucial to ask ourselves: What particular issues and challenges are found in these contexts? How can knowledge be produced in places of high variabilities? What is the role of new technology such as mobile phones or social media platforms, and other innovations, in the study of pastoralist mobilities? We call for contributions around three focal points for the development of research methodologies: (1) framework and epistemologies, including what understanding of the world shall be portrayed and how knowledge shall be produced in pastoral settings; (2) what data to collect, including current challenges within conventional units of reference and what solutions proposed; and (3) how to collect data, including issues of ethics, positionalities, and technological innovations. The goal is to prompt reflections on our language, our units of analysis, geographical and spatial references, tools and methods adopted, and broader research design to better fit the empirics of researching with mobile people.


  • P 32.1
    • Ms. Semplici, Greta (University of Oxford)
    • Dr. Grasso, Erika (University of Turin)
  • P 32.2
    • Ms. Semplici, Greta (University of Oxford)
    • Dr. Grasso, Erika (University of Turin)

Timetable | Contribution List

Displaying 10 contributions out of 10
In my PhD research conducted between 1989 and 1994 in Lodwar I came to the conclusion that pastoral and urban livelihoods are closely connected. Pastoral households rely on an urban branch of the household not only to access education and health services but also as a way of diversifying the family income. Income generated in the informal sector of the urban settlements served as an insurance in t ... More
Presented by Prof. Ulrike SCHULTZ on 29/8/2019 at 11:40
The death of nomadic pastoralism has been predicted over and over again. Yet, not only has it survived but also evolved and flourished. This paper proposes to push beyond technocratic explanations of mobility that see it solely as a livelihood strategy and to explore the everyday experiences of moving. It suggests looking at mobility as an integrated constellation of relationships produced by the ... More
Presented by Natasha MARU on 29/8/2019 at 11:00
Turkana has had a long history of development and a string of failed interventions, including fisheries, irrigated agriculture, water harvesting and restocking. The historical causes of these failed developments remain poorly understood. However, some scholarly contention exists over the disappointing outcomes, which were suggested as externally imposed, top-down, non-participatory, bureaucratic, ... More
Presented by Gregory AKALL on 29/8/2019 at 15:50
Pastoralists all over the world tend be very community- oriented societies. This includes their understanding of rangeland as a commons. In the Alps in Germany, for example, the word commons etymologically even originates from the word pasture. While within the research of commons; a lot of methodological considerations have been made, none of them account for the specificity of pastoralists as mo ... More
Presented by Dr. Jill Philine BLAU on 29/8/2019 at 11:20
Ethiopia’s lower Omo valley is a historically marginal periphery, now being transformed by mega-dams and industrial plantation agriculture, which is home to many traditional agro-pastoralist groups. This paper describes the methodological challenges faced by a project (inspired by Krishna’s ‘Stages of Progress’ methodology) which set out to gauge the impact of these recent developments by ... More
Presented by David Paul PERTAUB on 29/8/2019 at 12:20
This paper will make an argument that pastoralist tribes from Oman’s Jabal al Akhdhar mountain perceive ecology from a perspective that is imaginative, abstract and based on Islamic texts and tradition. The paper will show various steps that lead to the construction of an imagined ecology. One of the key arguments this paper makes is that in order to understand physical or biological ecology it ... More
Presented by Salah AL MAZRUI on 29/8/2019 at 15:30
This paper focuses on methods adopted while enquiring the spatial dimension of everyday practices in a small town of Nothern Kenya. In a national context of perceived and actual marginalisation of the northern provinces and pastoral/nomadic groups, Marsabit urban space emerge as the result of an on going negotiation by which subjectivities define and re-define themselves. A relational approach to ... More
Presented by Dr. Erika GRASSO on 29/8/2019 at 12:00
This paper discusses the concept of moral economy as a heuristic tool to eschew normative approaches to the study of inequalities within pastoral societies. It first points to the difficulty of measuring wealth gaps in pastoral societies. Drawing on a case study from southern Madagascar, it first describes how both systems of confiage and concerns for thefts that come with the disclosure of livest ... More
Presented by Dr. Mathilde GINGEMBRE on 29/8/2019 at 16:30
Responding to the “frameworks and epistemologies” focus of this panel, this paper is a critique of systems-thinking in accounts of social change affecting pastoralists. I consider two ‘risks’ of such systems-thinking: 1) the attribution of an ontic status to pastoralist systems, such that the systems themselves are conceived as agents of adaptation, persistence, or other processes of trans ... More
Presented by Dr. Cory RODGERS on 29/8/2019 at 16:10
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