Managing the Landscape’s Resources

Rebecca M. Empson

in Harnessing Fortune

Published by British Academy

Published in print April 2011 | ISBN: 9780197264737
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191753992 | DOI:

Series: British Academy Postdoctoral Fellowship Monographs

Managing the Landscape’s Resources

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This chapter focuses on the accumulation of wealth through herding. For pastoral herders, movement across the landscape is the dominant means by which fortune is harnessed and growth in animals achieved. Here, fecundity and wealth are visible in mobile and transitory forms. At the most basic level, it is the herds that form the landscape as it is they who traverse the land and contain the fortune that engenders the fertility and vital energy that makes ‘places’. In the face of competing claims on the landscape, local shamans are motivated to establish relations with previous inhabitants who are held to reside in particular places. In so doing, they gain endorsement from past historical figures who claim that they are good people who should remain there. In securing this endorsement, the Buriad go some way in gaining authority over the place in which they currently live.

Keywords: wealth; herding; pastoral herders; fortune; herds; shamans; Buriad

Chapter.  12781 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Anthropology

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