“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
“…Anderson and Broch–Due have assembled an insightful collection on the causes of poverty among pastoralists, its history and extent in East Africa, the cultural meanings and conceptualizations of poverty, and the complex relationships among poverty, livelihood, and ethnic identity. It is essential reading for students of East African pastoralist societies.”
Roderick Neumann, Florida International University, African Affairs
“This book’s great merit is to have managed to make the study of what are minority communities in eastern Africa interesting and relevant to those who are concerned with the ways in which the continent has tackled the thorny question of 'development'”
Patrick Chabal, King's College, London, International Affairs
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.
This collection rejects the premise of pastoral egalitarianism and poses questions about the gradual creep of poverty, changing patterns of wealth and accumulation, the impact of diminishing resources on pastoral communities and the impact of external values of land, labor, and livestock.
David M. Anderson is a historian at St. Anthony's College, University of Oxford. He is the author of Eroding the Commons, co-editor of Revealing Prophets, and The Poor Are Not Us.
Vigdis Broch–Due is research fellow at the Nordic Afrika Institute, Uppsala.
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