Pastoralists are some of the most marginalised people on the planet, but they have much to teach us all. Pastoralists make a living from livestock on extensive dry and montane rangelands across the world, continuously living with and from uncertainty.
Like agrarian societies everywhere, pastoralists are confronted by the incursions of neoliberal capitalism: once remote pastoral regions become sites for investment and pastoralists’ livelihoods are undermined. New relations of class, gender and generation emerge, with transformed practices of production, labour and market engagement emerging across pastoral settings.
However, too often, pastoralists and settled agriculturalists are viewed as separate and mobilisations and movements rarely cross over. Yet, pastoralists’ responses to contemporary challenges highlight, for example, the importance of mobility, common use of resources and collective, networked social arrangements.
Given increasingly common agrarian struggles, this first edition of Agrarian Conversations will explore the opportunities to learn from pastoralists, and the importance of seeking greater engagement across agrarian movements.
Ian Scoones works on agrarian and environmental change, particularly in Africa. He has a particular interest in the connections between science, policy and the politics of sustainability. His long-term research on land, agricultural and livelihoods in Zimbabwe is covered in his regular blog, Zimbabweland. He is a member of the editorial collective of the Journal of Peasant Studies and on the editorial board of Ecology and Society.
Maryam Rahmanian is an international consultant on issues related to biodiversity and agroecology. She was a Research Associate at the Centre for Sustainable Development and Environment (CENESTA), an Iranian NGO from 2001 to 2014, where she initiated the programme on Participatory Plant Breeding, working with farmers and breeders to develop varieties adapted to climate change. She was Vice Chair of the High Level Panel of Experts of the Commitee on World Food Security for two terms (2010 to 2015) and is currently a member of the Steering Committee of the Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity for Agriculture and Food study (TEEBAgriFood). She has also been a Research Fellow at the Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies in Potsdam, Germany.
Rahma Hassan is a PhD fellow at the University of Copenhagen and University of Nairobi. She is interested in social development research and specifically in the field of governance, gender and human rights. She has conducted individually and in teams various research studies for various development agencies as well engaged in enhancing citizen’s involvement in governance work. She has worked in Research and Development projects for the last Ten years. Rahma has been actively been involved in human rights works and engaging discussions around devolution, electoral processes, and inclusion.
Rahma holds a Master of Arts degree from University Nairobi (Institute for Development Studies) and a Bachelor of Arts degree from University of Nairobi, Department of Sociology and Social Work. Rahma has a passion evidence based work and research for development as well social justice and Civic engagement.
PhD project Title: Land rights, Community Land Act and Social Dynamics among pastoralist communities in Kenya. The study aims to yields new knowledge on land rights and adaptation strategies among pastoralist communities in Kenya and directly contributes to the practical aspects of the legal frameworks in Kenya and their effective implementation.