Decline and re-emergence of nomadism: Tibetan pastoralists revive a nomadic way of life and production
Author: Manderscheid, A.
Source: GeoJournal, Volume 53, Number 2, February 2001 , pp. 173-182(10)
Abstract:Numerous examples worldwide demonstrate the displacement of a nomadic way of life and economy, with common features in the diverse regional contexts shown. Sometimes the pastoralists can respond with other forms of mobile herding, as for instance the current reindeer husbandry in northern Fenno-Scandia or Lapland suggests. An extensive form of herding management has succeeded an intensive one; nowadays the reindeer roam freely nearly all year round, and the reindeer owners live sedentary. Modern technologies support the animal husbandry. However, a decline in nomadism can also be followed by a revival. Records exist about re-emergence from, among others, the Mongolian Republic and the Tibetan plateau. The nomadic lifestyle of Tibetans was displaced, as in the other pastoral regions of China, for two decades. Its re-emergence in one region of the eastern Tibetan plateau in the early 1990s is analysed in this paper. Among the framework conditions which promoted the revival was the return of the livestock as family property. Some revived features of nomadism are identical to the pre-Collectivisation period. Other features were adapted to changed contexts. The revival had further a different impact on those groups which rely exclusively on animal husbandry and those which combine livestock breeding with field cultivation. However, the re-emerged nomadism is already disappearing again. In order to put the issues of mobile animal husbandry into a larger context, some comparative aspects of recent mobile animal husbandry in the pastoral regions of Sichuan province and Lapland are discussed.
Document Type: Regular Paper
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Publication date: February 1, 2001