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University of Sussex (2002)

Searching for symbiosis : pastoralist-farmer relations in North-east Nigeria

Milligan, Roger Simon

Titre : Searching for symbiosis : pastoralist-farmer relations in North-east Nigeria

Auteur : Milligan, Roger Simon.

Université de soutenance : University of Sussex

Grade  : Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) : 2002

As we enter the twenty-first century, we are often led to believe that the Sahel is in a state of crisis. Apocalyptic visions are by no means new, but one aspect of the present crisis is held to have reached an unprecedented scale. The extent and severity of rural conflict, particularly that between pastoralists and farmers, are apparently growing. The Hadejia-Nguru wetlands and their surrounding drylands in north-east Nigeria are seemingly a case in point. As a consequence of pastoralist-farmer violence, at least two hundred and ten people died in this area during the last two decades of the twentieth century, and rhetoric emanating from policy-making, donor, and scholarly fora offers little hope that the number of fatalities will decline. In fact, the consensus is quite the reverse. We are led to believe that the incidence of violent conflict can only increase as we watch, year by year, the spatial expansion of farmland and the appropriation of former key watering points. We are informed that the customary institutions that once managed tenure and conflict have broken down and are unable to respond to the pressures imposed by widespread environmental mismanagement and degradation, and the unabated penetration of the market economy. Against this backdrop, the virtues of urgent external intervention are repeatedly sold. This study, which is based on eleven months field research in north-east Nigeria, finds a number of assumptions central to conventional wisdom to be no longer tenable, not least the notion that a state of symbiosis once existed. This does not mean that pockets of environmental pressure do not exist. Clearly they do, but the study warns against drawing simplistic links between resource availability and the dynamics of pastoralist-farmer relations. It finds that actions are much more meaningful or symbolic than received wisdom would lead us to believe. In consequence, tension and conflict cannot be explained by an immediate appeal to the natural resource base. The study’s more robust approach to the nature and dynamics of relations leads to the advancement of more appropriate policies and interventions.

Présentation : EThOS (UK)

Accès au document : Proquest Dissertations & Theses

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