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Governing Grazing and Mobility in the Samburu Lowlands, Kenya
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Human Geography.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-4635-9898
2018 (English)In: Land, ISSN 2073-445X, Vol. 7, no 2, article id 41Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Pastoral mobility is seen as the most effective strategy to make use of constantly shifting resources. However, mobile pastoralism as a highly-valued strategy to manage grazing areas and exploit resource variability is becoming more complex, due to recurrent droughts, loss of forage, government-led settlement schemes, and enclosure of land for community conservation, among other reasons. Yet knowledge of how Samburu pastoralists perceive these changes, and govern and innovate in their mobility patterns and resource use, has received limited attention. This paper seeks to understand how Samburu pastoralists in the drylands of northern Kenya use and govern natural resources, how livestock grazing and mobility is planned for, and how boundaries and territory are constructed and performed both within and beyond the context of (non)governmental projects. Fieldwork for this paper was conducted in Sesia, Samburu East, and consisted of interviews, focus group discussions, and participatory observation. Findings show that livestock mobility involves longer periods and more complex distances due to a shrinking resource base and new rules of access. Although access was previously generated based on the value of reciprocity, the creation of new forms of resource management results in conditional processes of inclusion and exclusion. Policy and project implementation has historically been driven by the imperative to secure land tenure and improve pasture in bounded areas. Opportunities to support institutions that promote mobility have been given insufficient attention.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2018. Vol. 7, no 2, article id 41
Keywords [en]
communal grazing regulations, pastoral mobility, boundaries, Samburu pastoralists, Kenya
National Category
Human Geography
Research subject
Geography with Emphasis on Human Geography
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-154552DOI: 10.3390/land7020041ISI: 000436556500002OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-154552DiVA, id: diva2:1194387
Projects
Resilience in East African Landscapes
Note

This work was supported by the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions Resilience in East African Landscapes (REAL) Innovative Training Network funded by the European Commission [FP7-PEOPLE-2013-ITN project no. 606879].

Available from: 2018-04-02 Created: 2018-04-02 Last updated: 2019-01-03Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Pastoralists, Mobility and Conservation: Shifting rules of access and control of grazing resources in Kenya's northern drylands
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Pastoralists, Mobility and Conservation: Shifting rules of access and control of grazing resources in Kenya's northern drylands
2019 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Pastoral mobility is seen as the most effective strategy to make use of constantly shifting resources. In northern Kenya, mobile pastoralism as a highly-valued strategy to manage grazing areas and exploit resource variability is becoming more complex. Policy and project implementation has historically been driven by the imperative to secure land tenure and improve pasture in bounded areas through State-led settlement schemes. Relatively recently, increased (inter)national interests in nature and wildlife conservation on community land in the northern pastoralist regions see conservation and development as crucial and urgent requirements for stimulating economic growth and security. This study presents the case of Samburu pastoral mobility within the context of such shifting social and environmental circumstances. It focuses on changing rules of access and control of livestock resources. These transformations are analysed in the context of the large-scale establishment of community conservancies and what role these conservancies play in the actual use and transformation of space for pastoralists. Empirically, this thesis is based on a total of eighteen months fieldwork including semi-structured interviews and observations in Samburu, Isiolo and Laikipia. It demonstrates how the principal of reciprocal access to pasture between pastoralists is giving way to conditional access based on membership of more formal, territory-based institutions such as community conservancies. It further shows how access to private land may be open for negotiation through the formation of grazing arrangements, which are also used to control pastoralists’ movements beyond enclosed land. In spite of a rhetoric acknowledging the multiple benefits of livestock mobility, current policy entails a continuation of past policy and project implementation where prescriptions still revolve around conservation enclosures and settlement politics. The thesis concludes that such processes of territoriality are likely to produce unexpected and potentially disappointing outcomes, while struggle and conflict persist.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Department of Human Geography, Stockholm University, 2019. p. 106
Series
Meddelanden från Kulturgeografiska institutionen vid Stockholms universitet, ISSN 0585-3508 ; 156
Keywords
pastoralism, livestock mobility, conservation, community conservancy, Northern Rangelands Trust, political ecology, access, institutions, governmentality, territoriality, Samburu, Laikipia, Isiolo, Kenya
National Category
Human Geography
Research subject
Geography with Emphasis on Human Geography
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-162137 (URN)978-91-7797-410-9 (ISBN)978-91-7797-411-6 (ISBN)
Public defence
2019-01-10, Högbomsalen, Geovetenskapens hus, Svante Arrhenius väg 12, Stockholm, 13:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Note

At the time of the doctoral defense, the following papers were unpublished and had a status as follows: Paper 2: Manuscript. Paper 3: Manuscript.

Available from: 2018-12-04 Created: 2018-11-13 Last updated: 2018-11-29Bibliographically approved

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