The panel presents a wide-ranging set of studies on the evolving way of life of pastoralists both exploratory and revisionist. These include the nature of space, the reality of mobility, the multi-layered perceptions of attachments, rights, livelihoods, and the significance of risk and resilience.
Nomads and pastoralists have fascinated anthropologists for nearly as long as the discipline has existed. Early work reflected 19th century Romanticism and perceived of nomads and pastoralists as a version of the 'noble savage' and guardian of nature. Later approaches adopted a 'modernization' prism through which nomadic pastoralists were regarded as backward and resistance to development. More recent scholarship calls into question many of the age old assumptions and biases concerning the nomadic or mobile pastoralists in all regions of the world. Pastoralists today continue to adapt to risk and exhibit resilience and robustness. The changes are neither simple nor unidirectional. Rather they are complex with tradition being transformed and various notions of modernity also interplaying in this process. Their adherence to a range of traditions that help them perpetuate their ethnic integrity are taking place in an environment which requires rapid responses to significant political, social, economic and climatic forces. This panel presents a wide-ranging set of studies on the evolving way of life of pastoralists both exploratory and revisionist. The papers examine the nature of identity and the politics of belonging within pastoral society and in the larger nation-states. They explore the nature of space and the reality of mobility across localities and borders. They engage with the multi-layered perceptions of attachments, rights, and livelihoods within the context of global environmental governance as well as explore the significance of risk and resilience in the face of 21st century neo-liberal economics as well as climate change.