Greener Pastures: Politics, Markets and Community Among a Migrant Pastoral People

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9780822321224: Greener Pastures: Politics, Markets and Community Among a Migrant Pastoral People
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Book by Agrawal Arun

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"A salutary alternative to the `noble savage' stereotyping that so often characterizes writings about nomads, this book also deals nicely with some fundamental issues about social research. . . . Agrawal vividly portrays the failure of `development' programs that ignore local customs and attitudes, and clearly shows why making nomads sedentary is an unlikely way to `modernize' them. This clear, well-organized, unusual ethnography makes several important points." -- Choice "[A] useful book that answers some important questions. . . . If comparative economists are looking for a short and stimulating book on migratory pastoral economies that has some important messages for our discipline, this is a fine place for a start." -- Frederic L. Pryor and Amanda Bayer * Journal of Comparative Economics * "[A] tremendously rich book and a scholarly achievement worth applauding." -- B. G. Karlsson * American Ethnologist * "[A] skillful treatment of the Raikas. . . . Greener Pastures is a book that will appeal to diverse scholars and students. It is must reading for those interested in pastoralism, while political scientists and anthropologists will find colorful explorations of questions that are central to those disciplines. Additionally, this is a useful text for the fields of human geography, political ecology, development theory, and community-based-cooperatives theory, as well as for South Asian studies." -- Robert G. Varady and Katherine Hankins * The Journal of Asian Studies * "A riveting combination of sophistication in formal theory, brilliant ethnography, and analytical imagination."-James C. Scott, Yale University "This is a rare book. Not only does it give the reader an excellent indepth view of the life of the raikas, it also contributes to our theoretical understanding of how individuals in field settings overcome social dilemmas. Few books convey such rich theoretical and empirical understanding within the same covers."-Elinor Ostrom, Indiana University "Beautifully researched and rigorously analyzed, this book will be of interest to economists, political scientists, and anthropologists,a s well as all who are concerned with the environment."-Robert H. Bates, Harvard University "[A] skillful treatment of the Raikas. . . . Greener Pastures is a book that will appeal to diverse scholars and students. It is must reading for those interested in pastoralism, while political scientists and anthropologists will find colorful explorations of questions that are central to those disciplines. Additionally, this is a useful text for the fields of human geography, political ecology, development theory, and community-based-cooperatives theory, as well as for South Asian studies." - Robert G. Varady and Katherine Hankins, The Journal of Asian Studies "[A] tremendously rich book and a scholarly achievement worth applauding." - B. G. Karlsson, American Ethnologist "[A] useful book that answers some important questions. . . . If comparative economists are looking for a short and stimulating book on migratory pastoral economies that has some important messages for our discipline, this is a fine place for a start." - Frederic L. Pryor and Amanda Bayer, Journal of Comparative Economics "A salutary alternative to the `noble savage' stereotyping that so often characterizes writings about nomads, this book also deals nicely with some fundamental issues about social research. . . . Agrawal vividly portrays the failure of `development' programs that ignore local customs and attitudes, and clearly shows why making nomads sedentary is an unlikely way to `modernize' them. This clear, well-organized, unusual ethnography makes several important points." - Choice

Reseña del editor:

Social scientists theorizing about political economy and the allocation of resources have usually omitted migrant communities from their studies. In Greener Pastures Arun Agrawal uses the story of the Raikas, a little-known group of migrant shepherds in western India, to reexamine current scholarship on markets and exchange, local and state politics, and community and hierarchy. The Raikas are virtually invisible in the regions through which they travel, as well as to the wider Indian society, yet they must operate as part of these larger spheres for their economic survival.Agrawal analyzes the institutions developed by the shepherds to solve livelihood problems. First, by focusing on the relations of the shepherds with their landholder neighbors, he explains why the shepherds migrate. He shows that struggles between these two groups led to a sociopolitical squeeze on the access of shepherds to the fodder resources they need to feed their sheep. Then, in an examination of why the shepherds migrate in groups, he demonstrates how their migratory lives depend on market exchanges and points to the social and political forces that influence prices and determine profits. Finally, he looks at decision-making processes such as division of labor and the delegation of power. Politics is ubiquitous in the interactions of the shepherds with their neighbors and with state officials, in their exchanges in markets and with farmers, and in their internal relations as a community. Interspersing the words of the Raikas themselves with a sophisticated deployment of political theory, Agrawal has produced a volume that will interest scholars in a broad range of academic disciplines, including Asian studies, political science, human ecology, anthropology, comparative politics, rural sociology, and environmental studies and policy.

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