Vigdis Broch–Due is research fellow at the Nordic Afrika Institute, Uppsala.
Listed in: African Studies · African History · Anthropology
Eastern African pastoralists often present themselves as being egalitarian, equating cattle ownership with wealth. By this definition “the poor are not us”, poverty is confined to non-pastoralist, socially excluded persons and groups. Exploring this notion means discovering something about self-perceptions and community consciousness, how pastoralist identity has been made in opposition to other modes of production, how pastoralists want others to see them and how they see themselves.
“The contributors in The Poor are Not Us likewise succeed in their task of presenting a more holistic view of pastoral societies. They go beyond the widely held stereotypes that herders are conservative egalitarians and challenge the notion that pastoralism is a doomed means of subsistence. The scholarly articles demonstrate that one cannot understand wealth simply in economic terms, but must also take into account social and cultural variables. Aid agencies would do well to consider this holistic approach to pastoral poverty before embarking on potentially misguided development projects in a part of Africa that is in crisis today.”
George L. Simpson, Jr., High Point University