Panel no. 44 - Researching Class, Inequality and Social Mobility in Pastoralist Contexts


Title Dr First name Cory Last name Rodgers
Institution University of Oxford City Oxford Country GB


Title Ms First name Linda Last name Pappagallo
Institution name PASTRES City Florence Country IT


Panel title

Researching Class, Inequality and Social Mobility in Pastoralist Contexts

Panel abstract

The relationship between mobile pastoralism and capitalism has been a long-standing point of academic contention. Early depictions of pastoralists as egalitarians were later challenged by descriptions of livestock-based credit systems (Glickman 1971) and gerontocratic hierarchies (Evens 1984). Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, researchers produced detailed studies on wealth inequality (Rigby 1992; Salzman 1999), patron-client relations (Beck 1980; Bradburd 1990) and class formation (Balikci 1981; Little 1985) among mobile livestock-keeping peoples. However, with notable exceptions (e.g. Borgerhoff Mulder et al. 2010; Catley & Aklilu 2013; Müller-Dempf 2014), there has been less research on these topics in recent decades, despite dramatic changes in the economic and political milieus in which pastoralism is practiced. This panel will bring together researchers whose work contributes to an understanding of class stratification, wealth inequalities and social mobility among pastoralists, especially amidst invasive intervention by states, international organisations, and global trade. Participants will present situated empirical studies. We will then reflect as a panel on the concepts and methodologies required to analyse both social and spatial mobility in pastoralist contexts, with attention to the intersecting lines of gender, generation, caste and ethnicity. We invite papers from a range of disciplines and regions that address questions such as: How have shifts in the value and organisation of labour, livestock and land influenced distributions of wealth and power?; How have long-standing categories of status and prestige adapted to contemporary economic contexts, and what new categories have emerged?; How is pastoralism itself "classed" in relation to other livelihoods and lifestyles?

IUAES Commission

IUAES Commission on Nomadic Peoples