Contemporary Adaptations and Transformations

  • Gillian G. Tan
Part of the Studies in Human Ecology and Adaptation book series (STHE, volume 10)


Given the complexity and dynamism of nomadic pastoralism in eastern Tibet, this chapter suggests that contemporary changes unfolding among nomadic pastoralists of eastern Tibet are more clearly understood through an additional examination of shifts in relationships. The effects of implemented and observed changes are analyzed according to different kinds of change, namely adaptations as ways in which relationships remain similar in kind although varying by degree and transformations as ways in which relationships alter into other kinds of relationship. Ethnographic evidence is provided through the lens of one community of nomadic pastoralists in Kham with respect to their interactions with yaks, other pastoralists, and territorial deities. Additionally, a boarding school for children of nomadic pastoralists constructed in this community highlights how relationships are dependent on broader influences and other sets of relationships. This interconnected framework presents change as highly varied, requiring an expanded vocabulary of orders and kinds of change to reflect the complex and dynamic realities of nomadic pastoralism in eastern Tibet.


Kinds of change Adaptation Transformation Sedentarization Animal liberation Territorial deities Boarding school 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gillian G. Tan
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Humanities and Social SciencesDeakin UniversityGeelongAustralia

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