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Transforming inequality: Eastern Tibetan pastoralists from 1955 to the present

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This paper traces the recent history and major political and economic transformations that eastern Tibetan pastoralists have experienced from traditional times to the present and examines how changing rights over land and domestic animals have affected patterns of economic and social inequality in this population. Ethnographic data and responses to household surveys conducted in Sichuan and Gansu Provinces in China support the finding that the division of the grasslands to individual households through long-term contracts to state-owned land and government policies supporting sedentarisation are contributing to asset inequality and creating the foundation for class-based social differentiation in this population.
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Keywords: Tibet; anthropology; modernisation; pastoralist inequality; sedentarisation

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 2015

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  • Nomadic Peoples is an international journal published by the White Horse Press for the Commission on Nomadic Peoples, International Union of Anthropological and Ethnological Sciences. Its primary concerns are the current circumstances of all nomadic peoples around the world and their prospects. Its readership includes all those interested in nomadic peoples, scholars, researchers, planners and project administrators.
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