IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this article

Better Marginalised than Incorporated? Pastoralist Livelihoods in Somali Region, Ethiopia

Listed author(s):
  • Stephen Devereux

    (University of Sussex, Sussex)

Registered author(s):

    Recent droughts have revived debates about the viability of pastoralist livelihoods in the Horn of Africa. Responding to a perceived crisis of pastoralist reproduction, the Ethiopian government is advocating sedentarisation, but critics argue that this is an opportunistic attempt to extend the regime's control over an insubordinate minority. Pastoralists in Somali Region are in the paradoxical position of being wealthier than highland farmers but politically excluded, geographically isolated and intensely vulnerable to livelihood shocks – natural (droughts), economic (livestock import bans by the Gulf States, government crackdowns on ‘contraband’ trade) or socio-political (conflict between clans, or between militia groups and the state). In this highly politicised context, the voices of pastoralists themselves are often ignored. Based on fieldwork in Somali Region in 2005, this article argues that ‘living on the margins’ – excluded by and beyond the reach of the state, yet resisting incorporation – is the source of both pastoralist wealth and pastoralist vulnerability.Les sécheresses qui ont récemment frappé la Corne de l′Afrique ont relancé les débats sur la viabilité des modes de vie pastorale dans cette partie du continent. Pour répondre à ce qui est perçu comme une crise de reproduction pastorale, le gouvernement éthiopien préconise la sédentarisation des éleveurs. Les critiques affirment que cette politique est une tentative opportuniste par le régime de renforcer son contrôle sur les minorités rebelles du pays. Les éleveurs nomades de la Région Somali se trouvent dans la situation paradoxale d′être plus riches que les agriculteurs des régions montagneuses, mais d′être exclus politiquement, isolés géographiquement, et fortement vulnérables aux crises de subsistance, qu′elles soient naturelles (sécheresses) économiques (embargos sur les importations de bétails par les États du Golfe, lutte sévère du gouvernement contre le commerce de ‘contrebande’), ou socio-politiques (affrontements entre les différents clans, ou entre les milices locales et les autorités). Dans ce contexte fortement politisé, les voix des communautés pastorales sont souvent ignorées. À partir d′un travail de terrain effectué en 2005 dans la Région Somali, cette étude cherche à montrer que le mode de vie « en marge » caractérisant les peuples pastoraux car ils sont exclus par l′État et hors de sa portée, et résistent pourtant à l′intégration, explique à la fois leur richesse et leur vulnérabilité.

    If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

    File URL:
    File Function: Link to full text PDF
    Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.

    File URL:
    File Function: Link to full text HTML
    Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

    Article provided by Palgrave Macmillan & European Association of Development Research and Training Institutes (EADI) in its journal European Journal of Development Research.

    Volume (Year): 22 (2010)
    Issue (Month): 5 (December)
    Pages: 678-695

    in new window

    Handle: RePEc:pal:eurjdr:v:22:y:2010:i:5:p:678-695
    Contact details of provider: Web page:


    24 RUE ROTHSCHILD, P.O. BOX 272, CH-1211 GENEVA 21

    Phone: (41) 22-731-46-48
    Fax: (41) 22-738-57-97
    Web page:

    More information through EDIRC

    Order Information: Web:

    No references listed on IDEAS
    You can help add them by filling out this form.

    This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

    When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:pal:eurjdr:v:22:y:2010:i:5:p:678-695. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Sonal Shukla)

    or (Rebekah McClure)

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

    If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.