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27-31 August 2019
Poznań, Poland
Europe/Warsaw timezone
programme last update: 23 August 2019
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Contribution Paper

Poznań, Poland - Morasko Kampus, room: 2.124

Moving as being: pastoral mobility and its many faces


  • Natasha MARU

Primary authors

  • Natasha MARU (Institute of Development Studies (IDS), University of Sussex)


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 unity of land-labour-livestock. These multilateral and interconnected relationships are dynamic and reflexive, both influenced by and in turn influencing the relationships within this constellation. Embedded within contexts of social and cultural power, and their own histories, the paper draws on the ‘spatial turn’ and ‘new mobilities paradigm’ within geography to propose a conceptual triad to unravel the constellation of pastoral mobility. Adapting Cresswell’s (2006, 2010) typology mobility can be seen as existing as perception (physical movement, and strategies and negotiations contained therein), conception (representation of movement in discourse and imagination, rumour and ritual) and experience (affective and relational aspects). Amidst calls to reinvestigate the scales at which research on pastoralism takes place, this method calls for a zooming in to re-evaluate the very frames of reference from which research takes place, and understand the changing nature of mobility from the perspective of the pastoralist. This new understanding may help to explain why mobility persists, how it evolves in response to changing circumstances, and in turn how it is deployed to bypass, overcome, adapt to and/or alter these circumstances.