On the Move: 50 years of research on pastoralism

The Institute of Development Studies has published a new overview of its research on pastoralism, drawing on work from the last 50 years. The bibliography, compiled by Prof Ian Scoones with assistance from Linda Pappagallo of the PASTRES programme, is available as an online ‘flipbook’ or as a free PDF download.

Pastoralism has a unique place in development research and policy, often challenging assumptions about food production, livelihoods and mobility. Pastoral ways of life revolve around people’s relationships with animals, often in so-called ‘marginal’ environments or across borders, and confronting many uncertainties – from finance and markets to climate change. Perspectives from pastoralists can be neglected in policy, and their ways of life can be at odds with forms of governance that favour settled populations.

IDS began its research in 1970 with the commencement of a major PhD study by Jeremy Swift of the Tuareg people in northern Mali. The most recent initiative is the PASTRES programme.

The new bibliography pulls together publications from the intervening years – academic pieces, reports and briefings – produced by IDS academic staff and PhD students, published before, during or since their time at the Institute.

Throughout this time, IDS work has mixed operational engagement (through consultancies, project evaluations and field practice) with more academic and theoretical research. A key figure throughout has been Jeremy Swift, whose work in West and East Africa, as well as Mongolia, has inspired many others. Prof Swift was recognised by the IUAES Commission on Nomadic Peoples with a lifetime achievement award in 2013.

This bibliography clusters publications into eight themes, each introduced by a short introduction to the main foci of IDS research over the years.

These include:

  1. Pastoral livelihoods
  2. Pastoral production and marketing
  3. Natural resources and the environment
  4. Common property institutions and pastoral land tenure
  5. Drought and disaster responses
  6. Pastoral administration and development
  7. Service provision in pastoral areas
  8. Conflict and governance

Other publications this year will include a special IDS Bulletin, which draws together 13 articles published over the years on pastoralism; and an online course on pastoralism, to be featured on the PASTRES website.

For updates on all of these activities, subscribe to the PASTRES email newsletter or follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

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