Milk Culture and Pastoralism

  • Masahiro HirataEmail author
Part of the Springer Geography book series (SPRINGERGEOGR)


Across the Eurasian continent, complex arrays of milk processing techniques have evolved differently in different regions. Applying milk science to this complexity sheds light on what milk processing means. This chapter outlines the science necessary for this understanding and the concepts and methodology for conducting field studies of milk processing technology. Pastoralists process milk to make a particular product, and this may be further processed to make another product. What is crucial in researching the techniques that pastoralists use is to understand their practices in terms of the milk processing systems involved. To this end, a revised model is presented for categorizing milk processing systems, together with concise definitions of all the 29 different operations that pastoralists might employ. This chapter further explains that one goal of milk culture research lies in understanding pastoralism as a mode of subsistence. Because milk culture is a major factor in the establishment of pastoralism, it is possible to discuss pastoralism from the standpoint of milk culture. Research to establish the origin of milking shows that the origins of livestock breeding and milk culture are closely coincident. In short, this chapter demonstrates the major part that milk culture plays in the birth of pastoralism as a mode of subsistence.


Pastoralism Milk processing system Milk science Methodology Model analysis 


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© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Human ScienceObihiro University of Agriculture and Veterinary MedicineObihiroJapan

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