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‘It Takes Two Hands to Clap’: How Gaddi Shepherds in the Indian Himalayas Negotiate Access to Grazing

Axelby, Richard (2007) '‘It Takes Two Hands to Clap’: How Gaddi Shepherds in the Indian Himalayas Negotiate Access to Grazing.' Journal of Agrarian Change, 7 (1). pp. 35-75.

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This article examines the effects of state intervention on the workings of informal institutions that coordinate the communal use and management of natural resources. Specifically it focuses on the case of the nomadic Gaddi shepherds and official attempts to regulate their access to grazing pastures in the Indian Himalayas. It is often predicted that the increased presence of the modern state critically undermines locally appropriate and community-based resource management arrangements. Drawing on the work of Pauline Peters and Francis Cleaver, I identify key instances of socially embedded ‘common’ management institutions and explain the evolution of these arrangements through dynamic interactions between individuals, communities and the agents of the state. Through describing the ‘living space’ of Gaddi shepherds across the annual cycle of nomadic migration with their flocks I explore the ways in which they have been able to creatively reinterpret external interventions, and suggest how contemporary arrangements for accessing pasture at different moments of the annual cycle involve complex combinations of the formal and the informal, the ‘traditional’ and the ‘modern’.

Item Type: Journal Article
Keywords: northern India, transhumant nomadism, common property resources,bricolage
SOAS Departments & Centres: Departments and Subunits > Department of Development Studies
Legacy Departments > Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Department of Anthropology and Sociology
ISSN: 14710358
Copyright Statement: Subject to 6-12 months embargo. Publisher's version can not be used.
DOI (Digital Object Identifier): https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1471-0366.2007.00139.x
Depositing User: Richard Axelby
Date Deposited: 05 Aug 2009 10:59
URI: http://eprints.soas.ac.uk/id/eprint/7616


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