This workshop focuses on European shepherds' practices, ideas, challenges and expectations as a paradigmatic case for understanding continuities and changes in the fields of labour, market, and policy under neoliberal globalization.
According to many students of pastoralism, 'traditional' sheep herding in Europe is 'doomed to disappear'. On the other hand, the current transformation of sheep herding is paralleled by recognition of pastoralism as an 'intangible heritage' protected and safeguarded by international 'soft law' tools (e.g. the Unesco World Heritage Convention). Entangled between the vanishing of their 'traditional' world and lifestyle and its parallel commoditization (notably through museographic, touristic and commercial practices), sheep herders' current market strategies and moral economies, their changing labour relations and dynamics of production, property and economic arrangements, power and struggles require further ethnographic investigation. In order to explore continuities and changes in the fields of labour, market and policy under neoliberal globalization, this panel encourages focusing on the complex relationships between local practices of European shepherds and their global and local political, economic and legal contexts. Among the questions we invite to address are: How is sheep herding affected by migrant workers' flows across the EU? Are there any emerging patterns of labour and labor division, including gender differentiation, inequality and exploitation? How do sheep herders' labour and capital articulate with global agro-food regimes and agricultural market liberalization? Which pastoral products (milk, meat, wool, leather) reach the local market and/or global commodity chains, why and how? How does sheep herding accommodate between state and non-state policies and the EU system of agricultural subsidies known as CAP (Common Agriculture Policy)? Are any forms of cooperation and activism (e.g. trade unions, social movements, civic associations) emerging in defense of sheep herding and shepherds' rights?