Year of Publication


Document Type



Arts and Sciences



First Advisor

Peter D. Little


Discourse between development agents and nomads implies that development for nomadiccommunities is a contradiction in terms. A "market-oriented" subtext underscores the investors'power of international agencies, the brokers' competition of intermediate organizations, and thenomadic clients' opportunism. Interviews and participant-observation focused on relationsbetween Wo??aa??e communities, bilateral and local organizations, and government extensionservices. I compare the data obtained with historical events to illuminate current phenomena.Approaches of structuration, political ecology, and disequilibrium theory aid an examination ofcommunication and discourses, and gaps in understanding between the parties. I find thatessential pastoral livelihood strategies of mobility and customary institutions are threatened bythe development system. How will social change affect cultural mechanisms that facilitateresource access and allocation? Rather than promoting sustainable development, projects thattarget nomadic communities may only result in increased stratification, wealth disparity andmarginalization for the majority of nomadic households. Will "development" become too costlyfor households, local ecology, and even national economy? I conclude with recommendationsfor participative development through collaborative research.