Accepted paper:

"Reach out to the world": Why the South-Ethiopian Mursi struggle with globalization


Tamas Regi (Keimyung University)

Paper short abstract:

In this paper I discuss the different economic tactics that the Mursi, a small scale pastoral group in South-Ethiopia, practice in their everyday with global ‘forces’ such as western tourism, government initiations or NGO activities.

Paper long abstract:

As Anna Tsing (2005) noted the analytical tools are still rudimentary when we want to understand the relationship between 'local reactions and global forces, local consumption and global circulation, local resistance and global structures of capitalism'. Globalization is a lived practice where people 'reach out to the world' (Theodossopoulos 2009; Strathern and Stewart 2009) along the practice of consumption and different forms of production. In this presentation I propose a configuration of the concepts of scale and consumption discussing global connections through the examples of the nomadic Mursi people in south Ethiopia and their everyday acts with non-Mursi people. For most Mursi people globalization means a constant planning and objectification of desires and wants and this tactical planning manifest in different forms. In my discussion I follow a path (as a rhetorical device), a path that started from my hut, almost from the center of the Mursi settlement I lived during my fieldwork, and track this path until it reaches out the first town close to Mursiland. Along this path I discuss my topic and show how the idea of global-local scales rather refers to reflexive, creative and mobile relationships than unidirectional encompassing and unifying transactions where the larger always wins over the smaller.

panel MMM09
The emerging world of pastoralists and nomads (IUAES Commission on Nomadic Peoples)