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McGill University (1987)

Maasai pastoral potential : A study of ranching in Narok District, Kenya

Doherty, Deborah Ann

Titre : Maasai pastoral potential : A study of ranching in Narok District, Kenya

Auteur : Doherty, Deborah Ann

Université de soutenance : McGill University

Grade : Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) 1987

The socio-economic conditions which affect development in general, and group ranching in particular, among the Maasai of Narok District, Kenya are analyzed. Systems of relationships between Maasai social units are examined to demonstrate how different individuals and groups within Maasai society, each with a diversity of vested interests, react to the opportunities and disadvantages offered them by imposed development programs and altered ecological conditions. A single group ranch, Rotian OlMakongo, is the focus of intensive study. Maasai on this ranch, which is located in a semi-high potential wheat-growing area of Narok District, have largely been resistant to planned change. The reaction of group ranch members to development are analyzed showing how lineage and clan affiliation, age set relations, stock friendships and other systems of relations affect individual and group decision-making. On the one hand the analysis demonstrates how the structure of the group ranch itself is not conducive to the consensual decision-making which ranch planning officials anticipated would occur regarding such important issues as stock limitation. On the other hand traditional Maasai social units are seen at different times both to promote and inhibit new organizational forms to deal with a changing set of economic, ecological and political conditions. A general trend toward impoverishment, disenfranchisement and supplementary economic pursuits is outlined. However, traditional pastoralism is not seen as being totally subsumed by a more dominant, essentially capitalistic mode of production. Rather, traditional pastoralism is seen to define the transformation of internal forms through a structure which incorporates the modern sector. The tension between the traditional and modern sectors is not their disassociation, but rather, their integration into the dynamic process of change within the structure.

Mots clés : Masai (African people) — Economic conditions — Masai (African people) — Social conditions Women, Masai — Kenya


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