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The Ecology of Pastoralism

The Ecology of Pastoralism

EDITED BY P. Nick Kardulias
Copyright Date: 2015
Pages: 272
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  • Book Info
    The Ecology of Pastoralism
    Book Description:

    InThe Ecology of Pastoralism, diverse contributions from archaeologists and ethnographers address pastoralism's significant impact on humanity's basic subsistence and survival, focusing on the network of social, political, and religious institutions existing within various societies dependent on animal husbandry.Pastoral peoples, both past and present, have organized their relationships with certain animals to maximize their ability to survive and adapt to a wide range of conditions over time. Contributors show that despite differences in landscape, environment, and administrative and political structures, these societies share a major characteristic-high flexibility. Based partially on the adaptability of various domestic animals to difficult environments and partially on the ability of people to establish networks allowing them to accommodate political, social, and economic needs, this flexibility is key to the survival of complex pastoral systems and serves as the connection among the varied cultures in the volume.InThe Ecology of Pastoralism, a variety of case studies from a broad geographic sampling uses archaeological and contemporary data and offers a new perspective on the study of pastoralism, making this volume a valuable contribution to current research in the area.

    eISBN: 978-1-60732-343-3
    Subjects: Sociology, Anthropology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. List of Figures
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. List of Tables
    (pp. xi-xii)
  5. Preface
    (pp. xiii-xx)
    P. Nick Kardulias
  6. 1 Introduction: Pastoralism as an Adaptive Strategy
    (pp. 1-16)
    P. Nick Kardulias

    Animal husbandry has been one of the main subsistence patterns for many cultures around the world since the Neolithic period. In the past, pastoral peoples have proved to be central players in major historical transformations, including the emergence of major empires such as those of the Mongols and Arabs. In the study of pastoralists, anthropologists and archaeologists pay specific attention to the ecological factors that govern pastoral activities, unlike analysis performed by economists or specialists in development. The studies in this volume demonstrate the careful way pastoral peoples past and present have organized their relationship with certain animals to maximize...

  7. 2 The Study of Nomads in the Republic of Kazakhstan
    (pp. 17-40)
    Claudia Chang

    In the main square of the former capital city, Almaty, in the Republic of Kazakhstan stands a new bronze statue of Golden Warrior, the seventeen-year-old Saka (Indo-Iranian) youth. Golden Warrior is dressed in a cloak of gold-plated armor and a tall pointed hat adorned with four gold bird figurines and spears, and he wields a golden dagger as he sits astride a prancing steppe horse. The remains of Golden Warrior were discovered in 1969 by Kazakh¹ archaeologists during salvage excavations of a large burial tomb in Issyk, a small town about 40 km east of Almaty (Akishev 1978). This splendid...

  8. 3 The Ecology of Inner Asian Pastoral Nomadism
    (pp. 41-70)
    Nikolay N. Kradin

    The world of nomads had always been terra incognita for residents of settled agricultural civilizations, both scaring and intriguing them. The centaur, itself a mysterious creature, was a symbol of the steppe world. It is no coincidence that the former crusader William of Rubruck, who had seen much in his lifetime, included in the first chapter of his writings a description of a trip to visit the ruler of the Mongolian Empire (Rockhill 1900:52): “When I found myself among them it seemed to me of a truth that I had been transported into another century” (in translation by Jackson in...

  9. 4 Agropastoralism and Transhumance in Hunza
    (pp. 71-96)
    Homayun Sidky

    The people of Hunza, the Hunzakutz, live in a resource-scarce high-mountain desert environment in northern Pakistan. To survive, they have had to adopt a range of complementary subsistence strategies, which include intensive irrigation agriculture, cattle husbandry, and transhumance. During the isolation of the past, success in this enterprise—which was based on regulating the interactions among crops, livestock, humans, and the environment—depended upon careful scheduling of various economic activities by means of state-sponsored rituals. This study provides a general overview of how this system enabled the Hunzakutz to create a sustainable economic system in the harsh environment of the...

  10. 5 Animals, Identity, and Mortuary Behavior in Late Bronze Age–Early Iron Age Mongolia: A Reassessment of Faunal Remains in Mortuary Monuments of Nomadic Pastoralists
    (pp. 97-116)
    Erik G. Johannesson

    Ancient Chinese historical texts of the Han Dynasty (200 BC–AD 200), such as Sima Qian’sShiji, describe that in the third century BC the nomadic steppe tribes of what today is Mongolia were united into a powerful confederacy the Chinese referred to as the Xiongnu. Within a few years of the formation of this polity, its leader, Modun, sent a declaration to the Han court announcing his subjugation of the region and ascendance to sole hegemon of the northern steppes. All were now considered Xiongnu. Henceforth the Han would have to contend with this—according to Sima Qian—aggressive...

  11. 6 Kalas and Kurgans: Some Considerations on Late Iron Age Pastoralism within the Central Asian Oasis of Chorasmia
    (pp. 117-170)
    Michelle Negus Cleary

    There is more evidence for the presence and practice of pastoralism within the ancient oases of Central Asia in antiquity than has hitherto been widely recognized. The old “steppe versus sown” paradigm still overshadows Eurasian scholarship, where the fertile oases have been characterized as farming enclaves fighting off the predations of raiding pastoralists from the surrounding desert-steppe zones (Frachetti et al. 2010:623). The assumption that the steppe was a peripheral zone of exclusively specialized pastoral production and that the oases were centralized areas of intensive agricultural production has been questioned by many scholars who have shown the multiple resource variability...

  12. 7 FulBe Pastoralists and the Neo-Patrimonial State in the Chad Basin
    (pp. 171-194)
    Mark Moritz

    The dominant image of the African state in the “pastoralist literature” is that of a state in opposition to nomadic society, sponsor of large-scale technocratic development schemes based on misconceptions of and incompatible with the mobility of pastoral systems that consequently push pastoralists further to the margins (Salih 1990; Klute 1996; Lenhart and Casimir 2001; and other papers in special issues ofNomadic Peopleson the topic of nomads and the state; see also Diallo 1999; Niamir-Fuller 1999a; Azarya 2001). The African state is portrayed as a modern bureaucratic state with agentive and hegemonic powers that is in irreconcilable conflict...

  13. 8 Flexibility in Navajo Pastoral Land Use: A Historical Perspective
    (pp. 195-210)
    Lawrence A. Kuznar

    The Navajo people, or Diné as they call themselves, are numerous and occupy a region within US territory the size of West Virginia. As with most Native American reservations, the average Navajo lives in extreme poverty compared with mainstream Americans, and Aberle (1983) argues that economic development on the reservation has been impeded to the benefit of large mining and oil interests. However, despite poverty and unemployment, the Navajo have enjoyed more success, in terms of territorial control and overall population growth, than most Native American groups in the face of colonialism and the expansion of a worldwide economic system...

  14. 9 Accidental Dairy Farmers: Social Transformations in a Rural Irish Parish
    (pp. 211-224)
    Mark T. Shutes

    The basic theme of this book is to find some common ground by which to compare societies wherein some form of animal husbandry plays a crucial role in their production strategies. As an anthropologist who works in a rural southwestern Irish parish (see figure 9.1), where some combination of cattle and cows has played such a role for thousands of years, I have a clear interest in finding a broader comparative base from which to understand their behavior and history. Yet, in my initial review of the basic literature on what is commonly referred to as pastoralist groups, I began...

  15. 10 Real Milk from Mechanical Cows: Adaptations among Irish Dairy Cattle Farmers
    (pp. 225-242)
    Mark T. Shutes

    One day in the summer of 1986, a local farmer from a small parish in southwestern Ireland found himself the subject of a front-page story in theIrish Timesand a sixty-second news spot on Irish national television. He and a few close friends had constructed from scratch a strikingly realistic life-size model of a Frisian/Holstein cow, complete with nodding head, switching tail, sound effects, and—most important—a mechanical udder capable of delivering stirred and warmed cow’s milk to real calves through a set of rubber teats. The farmer brought this model to a regional agricultural fair in County...

  16. 11 Island Pastoralism, Isolation, and Connection: An Ethnoarchaeological Study of Herding on Dokos, Greece
    (pp. 243-266)
    P. Nick Kardulias

    As interest in the nature of the ancient Greek economy increased during the second half of the past century, anthropologists and archaeologists focused a significant amount of attention on pastoralism past and present. Campbell (1964) provided one of the first detailed ethnographic accounts of Balkan pastoralists in his study of the Sarakatsani, linking cultural values and kinship structure to the herding of sheep and goats in central Greece. Koster (1976, 1977, 2000) examined in detail the ecology of herding in several locations and, among other important insights, demonstrated that contrary to Hardin’s Tragedy of the Commons thesis, pastoral groups do...

  17. 12 The Ecology of Herding: Conclusions, Questions, Speculations
    (pp. 267-280)
    Thomas D. Hall

    Since the preface and introduction have summarized the aims of this collection and the gist of the various chapters, I will not repeat that information here. Rather, I make some general comments, draw a few conclusions, ask some questions, and speculate on topics for future studies of pastoralism. Throughout this discussion I try to link these studies, several highly localized, to larger issues in long-term macro-social change. The extreme variability and considerable volatility of herding societies, while at times frustrating, are superb for exploring complex changes in considerable detail and for making links between local, small-scale change and regional, large-scale...

  18. About the Contributors
    (pp. 281-284)
  19. Index
    (pp. 285-291)