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'It takes two hands to clap': how gaddi shepherds in the Indian Himalayas negotiate access to grazing

Axelby, Richard (2007) 'It takes two hands to clap': how gaddi shepherds in the Indian Himalayas negotiate access to grazing. Journal of Agrarian Change, 7 (1). pp. 35-75. ISSN 1471-0358

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Identification Number: 10.1111/j.1471-0366.2007.00139.x


This article examines the effects of state intervention on the workings of informal institutions that coordinate the communal use and management of natural resources. Specifically it focuses on the case of the nomadic Gaddi shepherds and official attempts to regulate their access to grazing pastures in the Indian Himalayas. It is often predicted that the increased presence of the modern state critically undermines locally appropriate and community-based resource management arrangements. Drawing on the work of Pauline Peters and Francis Cleaver, I identify key instances of socially embedded ‘common’ management institutions and explain the evolution of these arrangements through dynamic interactions between individuals, communities and the agents of the state. Through describing the ‘living space’ of Gaddi shepherds across the annual cycle of nomadic migration with their flocks I explore the ways in which they have been able to creatively reinterpret external interventions, and suggest how contemporary arrangements for accessing pasture at different moments of the annual cycle involve complex combinations of the formal and the informal, the ‘traditional’ and the ‘modern’.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2007 The Author. Journal compilation © 2007 Blackwell Publishing Ltd, Henry Bernstein and Terence J. Byres.
Divisions: Anthropology
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GN Anthropology
Date Deposited: 10 Mar 2014 08:38
Last Modified: 20 Oct 2021 03:12

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