Settling down and moving on

This is a link to a talk I gave as part of the SOAS Political Ecology of Environment and Development seminar series. The talk considers new forms of pastoralism pursued by members of the Gaddi and Gujjar Scheduled Tribes in the Indian state of Himachal Pradesh. The historically nomadic lifestyles of these two communities might be expected to be undermined following a century of land settlement, state seizure of forests, and an official policy bias in favour of settled agriculture. Countering assumptions of inevitable sedentarization, I describe how nomadic pastoralists have been able to identify new niches for old practices. Recognising the continued relevance of mobile pastoralism to Gaddi and Gujjar household livelihood strategies, I go on to show how new forms of nomadism are differentiated by class, ethnicity and religion. Identity, cultural connections to particular landscapes, and an emerging politics of place combine to determine who may access particular grazing resources and the ways in which they do so.

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