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.