Nomadic Pastoralism: the Process of Impoverishment

  • R. M. A. van Zwanenberg
  • Anne King


Few historical studies have been made of the nomadic pastoral peoples of East Africa and consequently we know little about their past, even in the nineteenth century. Such studies as have been made have concentrated on the broad sweep of the history of migration of pastoralists or on their recent political past and little attention has been paid to their economic or social histories. For information in these fields we have to turn to the work of anthropologists, but use of this source itself provides problems for the historian. Anthropologists, who are concerned with the economic and social aspects of the societies they are studying, tend to concentrate on the current structures and functions of social and economic institutions. As a result the view of life they present tends to be timeless and to give an impression that things have not altered, unless the studies are specifically concerned to examine change in the society. Existing studies of nomadic pastoralists in Eastern Africa, give an impression of timelessness — that methods of production in the precolonial period have hardly altered and that in modern times change has passed these societies by.


Economic History Pastoral Area Colonial Government East Coast Fever Nomadic Pastoralism 


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Copyright information

© R. M. A. van Zwanenberg with Anne King 1975

Authors and Affiliations

  • R. M. A. van Zwanenberg
  • Anne King

There are no affiliations available

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