+1 Recommend
1 collections
      Environment and Society is a collaborative, international project intent on foregrounding and rethinking the interactions of environments and societies from multidisciplinary and global perspectives. 
      Learn more about the Rachel Carson Center for Environment and Society or subscribe to White Horse Press' OA package Subscribe to Open - The White Horse Press
      • Record: found
      • Abstract: found
      • Article: found

      Resilience and the Mobility of Identity: Belonging and Change among Turkana Herders in Northern Kenya

      Nomadic Peoples
      White Horse Press

      Read this article at

          There is no author summary for this article yet. Authors can add summaries to their articles on ScienceOpen to make them more accessible to a non-specialist audience.


          Ideas of resilience are not new; they have travelled across several disciplines, stretching their original meanings to a considerable degree, turning into a 'key political category of our time' (Neocleous 2013). For the case of pastoralist groups, discussions about resilience predominantly concern the state of pastoralism as a unitary and fixed entity and its prospects for survival in a world in turmoil (climate change, diseases and epidemics, conflicts, socio-economic transformations). In this context, references to resilience generally allude to local vulnerability, purporting the need for external support. These accounts tend to ignore local voices and perceptions and neglect the role of identity, culture and change in self-presentation and everyday life. Based on fourteen months of fieldwork in the northern Kenyan drylands, this article flips dominant perspectives on pastoralism and resilience, following the herders' self-definition, their construction of a shared identity and their, at times contradictory, positioning as part of a broader society. It argues that part of their resilience rests in the feeling of belonging and solidarity around a collective identity, built in opposition to urbanities along symbolic boundaries. The article however shows how such identity remains nonetheless flexible and responsive to change, disrupting dichotomies and weaving different social worlds, such as rural and urban, together. Such flexibility is also an important element of resilience for the capacity to change, stay attentive, and mobile.

          Related collections

          Author and article information

          Nomadic Peoples
          Nomadic Peoples
          White Horse Press
          October 01 2021
          October 01 2021
          : 25
          : 2
          : 226-252
          © 2021


          Comment on this article