Labour organization in a nomadic pastoral society: the Samburu of Kenya: a theoretical and methodological framework for research
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The proposed research examines labor organization in a nomadic pastoral society. It focuses on the Samburu of northern Kenya, milch-oriented herders who are presently the targets of a comprehensive development plan. The study seeks to highlight the complex tasks of herd management, the multiple pursuits associated with pastoralism, and the place of pastoralists in the regional economy. Theoretically, the study aims to give more precise definition to the concept of 'pastoralism' and to the role of low-level production units as 'household' and 'domestic group'. It further seeks to clarify the operational meaning of 'labor' as it applies to partially-commoditized economies. The investigation acknowledges both the relativity of labor and its two aspects of social form and technical conditions. Substantively, the study aims to describe the heterogeneous demands of rangeland pastoralism and the possibilities for wider herder participation in the regional economy, labor is a critical factor of production in pastoral systems, yet information on both the qualitative and quantitative parameters of labor allocation is scarce. Investigation will elucidate task repertoires, cooperative arrangements, technical expertise and coordination in the use of range and water resources. Whether one is interested in safeguarding milch-oriented pastoralism or in facilitating change, it is essential to acquire a more refined knowledge of the labor patterns of herding.