Catch-up with the work of the PASTRES project

The PASTRES team has been very busy over the past months, preparing for the fieldwork phase. The PhD student group presented their research outlines to an invited audience – both at IDS in Sussex and online – to much acclaim! They are now revising their plans in the light of comments and heading to the field during August and September. For the coming year, the PASTRES team will be spread out over several continents – in Sardinia, Tunisia, Ethiopia, Kenya, India and China. Look out for profiles of the students’ projects on this blog in September/October, and more news from the field sites in the coming months.

In July, the team was also involved in the major international symposium on ‘The Politics of Uncertainty’, organised jointly with the STEPS Centre, the host of the PASTRES project. You can find out more about the symposium and the topics discussed here. The debates were wide ranging covering everything from volcanoes to smart cars to finance and religion. You can find out more in the downloadable abstracts in the symposium link. It was a fascinating exchange across disciplines and practices, helping reinforce the sense that the PASTRES project, through learning from pastoralists about living with and from uncertainty, can contribute much to wider debates about how to live in an increasingly turbulent world. More news on the outputs of the symposium will be shared soon.

In June, Ian Scoones travelled to Copenhagen to receive the Ester Boserup award for development research. You can view his lecture here and below, and read his background paper on ‘What is Uncertainty, and Why does it Matter?’ here. Links between pastoralism and wider domains – including finance, critical infrastructure, infectious disease responses – are explored in both.

Meanwhile the PASTRES team is currently in Wales, visiting Jeremy Swift and neighbours, learning about the challenges of sheep farming in a UK context – and the uncertain challenges of Brexit, veganism, rewilding, climate change and more. You can expect a blog reflecting on our visit in due course.

The blog is going to take a break until September. There are now 42 blogs on the PASTRES site, so do feel free to browse in case you missed any. And don’t forget to sign up to the blog (here) and our newsletter (here). Here are the top five most downloaded blogs to date:

1- The vegan craze: what does it mean for pastoralists?

2- Pastoralism under pressure in northern Kenya

3- Can pastoralists benefit from payments for ecosystem services?

4- Why killing reindeer is poor science

5- Youth moving to town: a major cause of uncertainty among the pastoralists of Isiolo, Kenya

Happy reading!

Image credit: Dr Antonello Franca, APPIA

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