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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:The Farming Alternative: Changing Age and Gender Ideology among Pastoral Rendille and Ariaal
Author:Smith, KevinISNI
Periodical:Nomadic Peoples
Geographic term:Kenya
Subjects:social structure
Women's Issues
Peoples of Africa (Ethnic Groups)
Agriculture, Natural Resources and the Environment
Development and Technology
Cultural Roles
Sex Roles
External link:https://doi.org/10.3167/082279499782409398
Abstract:Pastoral, as well as farming, the Rendille and Ariaal of Songa (Kenya) are characterized by an institutionalized gender and age inequality that gives elders considerable control over the major resource of livestock. Women and unmarried junior males of the warrior age-grade depend on elders for access to livestock. But circumstances in the newly formed agricultural community of Songa affect this power relationship. Market opportunities for women, the main sellers of produce, give them more access to cash than they have ever had before. With fewer animals to herd, warriors can concentrate on their own plots of land and quickly accumulate resources that would take their pastoral counterparts several years to achieve. One might expect that the shift from an exclusively pastoral economy to a predominantly agricultural one, with greater integration into a market economy, would radically transform a culture. Yet, as Rendille and Ariaal of Songa show, elders' authority is not disrupted because they still control the major resources. But the belief that individuals control crops they grow, the ability for them to grow crops by themselves, and the incentive to do so because of local market demand combine to give women and warriors greater economic autonomy. Research was carried out in 1994-1997. Bibliogr., note, sum. in French and Spanish.