News from PASTRES June 2020

The PASTRES programme had a busy start to 2020, despite our students and staff being under COVID-19 lockdown for long periods in different parts of the world.

Coming on the back of desert locust swarms and floods in East Africa and heavy snowfalls in Amdo Tibet, the pandemic has provided an important moment to reflect on the importance of uncertainty, and how pastoralists are able to respond.
2020 is also the 50th anniversary of the start of research on pastoralism at the Institute of Development Studies, where the PASTRES programme is hosted. Our colleague Jeremy Swift began his PhD research there in 1970. A new IDS Bulletin and bibliography reflect on this period.

50 years of research on pastoralism

Open Access archive Bulletin

The Bulletin brings together 13 articles, together with a new introduction written by researchers in the PASTRES team.

The articles address six overlapping themes: pastoral livelihoods; institutions and common property resource management; climate change and ecological dynamics; food security, early warning, and livelihood vulnerability; pastoral marketing; and conflict and governance. Access it here.

Bibliography: On the Move

On the Move: A Bibliography on Pastoralism Research, Institute of Development Studies, 1970-2020 This new bibliography collects publications from the last 50 years of research on pastoralism at IDS. You can download a PDF or browse it as an online ‘flipbook’ from our website.

Read more here.

Online course: Pastoralism and Uncertainty

Explore the new self-study online course, Pastoralism and Uncertainty, with presentations and reading lists drawn from the PASTRES PhD programme.

Access the course here.

Publications from PASTRES

Migration, Agriculture and Rural Development Michele Nori and Domenica Farinella

This open access short reader explores the dynamics which have reshaped rural development and human landscapes in European agriculture and the role of immigrant people. It explores the case of immigrant shepherds to describe the reconfiguration of agriculture systems and rural landscapes in Europe with intense immigration and the availability of low-cost labour. Read more here.

Land, Investment and Politics: Reconfiguring Eastern Africa’s Pastoral Drylands Edited by Jeremy Lind, Doris Okenwa and Ian Scoones

This new book in James Currey’s African Issues series examines the new challenges facing Africa’s pastoral drylands from large-scale investments and how this might affect the economic and political landscape for the regions affected and their peoples.

The chapters show how even the most elaborate plans of financiers, contractors and national governments come unstuck and are re-made in the guise of not only states’ grand modernist visions, but also those of herders and small-town entrepreneurs in the pastoral drylands.

A price discount is available from the publishers (use the code BB135). Buy the book here.

Pastoralists as Reliability Professionals STEPS/PASTRES Working Paper by Emery Roe

Reliability professionals are to be found in pastoralist systems, today and in the past. Pastoralism can therefore be viewed as a global infrastructure with its own reliability professionals, providing a worldwide critical service. A high reliability perspective therefore offers a new narrative for pastoralism facing a turbulent, uncertain future.

Read the paper here and also see Emery Roe’s blog Pastoralists as reliability professionals

Snapshots of Pastoralism

Follow us on Instagram to see regular snapshots of pastoralism, with stories provided by our research team around the world, reflecting on the changing rhythms and uncertainties of pastoral life.

Take a look and follow us on Instagram here.

COVID-19 and Pastoralism

The COVID-19 pandemic has affected pastoral areas through lockdown measures and restrictions on mobility. How are pastoralists responding? What repertoires for responding to uncertainty are being used? PASTRES researchers and affiliates have offered a number of reflections on our blog.

Recent posts

Visit the blog here.

New post-doctoral researchers linked to PASTRES

This year we have welcomed three new post-doctoral fellows who will be linked to the PASTRES programme during their work.

Jamila Haider is working on the building of socio-ecological relations in the Tajik Pamir mountains and the Austrian Alps, based at the Stockholm Resilience Centre in Sweden.

Greta Semplici is working on the everyday lives of borderlands and the transnational governance implications of migration from sub-Saharan Africa to Europe, based at PASTRES core partner, the European University Institute in Florence, Italy. (See her recent blogpost.)

Ryan Unks is working on changing pastoral livelihoods and ecologies in central and southern Kenya, based at SESYNC, University of Maryland, USA.

You can read their profiles here.

Keep in touch

For all enquiries about the project, contact

There are various ways to keep in touch more regularly with PASTRES: 

If you know others who may be interested in this project, please encourage them to subscribe to this newsletter via the sign up page.

Header photo: Pastoralists in Turkana, by Greta Semplici

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