lisa monaghan

D. H. Johnson (1989). Political Ecology in the Upper Nile: The Twentieth Century

Expansion The environment of the clay plains of the Upper Nile region in the Sudan is peculiarly harsh, imposing considerable restraints on its inhabitants, who almost all survive through mixed cultivation and herding. The combination of erratic flooding, 'unreliable rainfall and uncompromising soil' has forced the development of a mainly pastoral economy, which has been well established throughout the region for a least a millennium.' The standard ethnographies and ecological studies of the region have all emphasized the interdependence of cultivation and animal husbandry within local economies, and the variations in local environments which produce different balances of agro-pastoral activity.2 What emerges even more clearly from an historical study of the region is that the economies of the various ethnic and political groups contained within it are linked together and form a wider regional system which enables each to survive the limitations of its specific area. They have been linked through a variety of networks of exchange; some based on kinship obligations, some on direct trade. Through these networks the peoples of the region have at times been able to gain regular access to the resources of areas at some distance from themselves, crossing political and ethnic boundaries to do so. Survival of peoples as well as individuals depends on maintaining such access in a number of ways. It is therefore not possible to discuss the local economies of the Nuer without reference to the local economies of the Dinka, nor is it possible to understand the survival of the Dinka without reference to their economic relations with the Nuer. of the Pastoral 'Common Economy’

Category: Economics and Livelihoods

Sub-category: Cattle