Re: "Nomad' and Social Class

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Posted by Wendel Swan on March 31, 1999 at 06:31:06:

In Reply to: Re: "Nomad' and Social Class posted by Erol Abit on March 31, 1999 at 01:28:02:

Dear Erol,

You wrote:

: As far as I know, beforel technological tools such tractor were used for agriculturing, most of lands was pastoral. No one was the owner of these lands which occupy all areas except the small vicinity of villages. Since these huge pastoral areas was free to use by everybody, travelling from a place to another was not a problem even for a poor nomad who has few sheeps. I don't think there was social hierarchy among nomads because first they usually were moving together with their families or with very close relatives only and second the life style they had chosen was to be free as much as possible. When they decided to settle, they had to join into some groups because settle areas were owned by someone else. The hierarchical rules were in these groups for group defencing themselves other anamies. These groups, tribals, were living like nomads by changing their places only from season to season. But the real nomads can changes their places frequently.

I have been interested in nomadic pastoralists for several years, particularly the Shahsavan. The nomads with whom I am familiar lead a much more structured existence than your posting suggests.

Nomadic pastoralists are not simple vagabonds, wandering from place to place and going wherever the moment pleases. Although they do not have legal "title" to the pasturelands that they occupy, there is substantial order to the migratory process. That is why such hardship was inflicted upon the Shahsavan when the Russian permanently closed the Russian - Persian border in 1884 and deprived the Shahsavan of over half of their grazing land.

Most nomadic pastoralists migrate in relatively large groups, ranging from dozens to hundreds of people. The sole basis for their movement is to find pasture for their herds, the source of their wealth and the sustenance of their lives. Following traditional migration routes (almost like our highways), It is not uncommon for the Shahsavan to return to the same precise lands for 5, 10 or 15 years consecutively. Aside from political factors, only seasonal differences and pasture conditions would prevent them from returning indefinitely. In fact, some nomads, such as the Ribari of India, build stone houses.

Among the Shahsavan there are differences in wealth and tribal influence (political power) much as one would find in any other society. The most powerful and wealthiest of them live in larger tents with finer furnishings and some may not stay with the remainder of the tribe at all times.

Once the migration reaches its destination, the families place their tents sometimes in precisely the same location as it was the prior year and there is even some more or less permanent underground storage.



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