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Stability and resilience in East African Pastoralism: The Rendille and the Ariaal of northern Kenya


The social organizations of two closely related nomadic pastoral societies of northern Kenya, the Rendille and Ariaal, are compared in the context of the relative constancy and variability of their herding environments. It is concluded that the application of Brooks and Yellen's model of stability and resilience in human populations is of value in understanding the impact of environmental constraints on social organization, but it is argued that other social features including the organization of labor and ownership of different livestock types directly bear on the differences between the Rendille and Ariaal.

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Fratkin, E. Stability and resilience in East African Pastoralism: The Rendille and the Ariaal of northern Kenya. Hum Ecol 14, 269–286 (1986).

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Key words

  • Africa
  • Kenya
  • pastoralism
  • economic anthropology
  • Rendille