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Inscribing Identity and Agency on the Landscape: Of Pathways, Places, and the Transition of the Public Sphere in East Pokot, Kenya

  • Michael Bollig, Clemens Greiner and Matthias Österle

Drawing upon the dynamic interrelationship between human agency and space, this article sheds light on the constitution of and relation between “place” and “path” among the pastoral Pokot of East Pokot District in the Kenyan North Rift Valley. It discusses the transformation from a more mobile pastoralist model of spatialization, which relies on a flexible network approach combining paths and places, toward a more “place-making,” postpastoralist model linked to increasing sedentariness, privatization of land, a clearer definition of external and internal boundaries, and a rapid emergence of schools, churches, and other physical structures.

En s’appuyant sur la relation dynamique entre les espaces occupés par les hommes et l’activité qui s’y déroule, cet article met en lumière la constitution de la relation entre la notion de “lieu” et celle de “chemin transitoire” dans le contexte de la vie pastorale des Pokot du district Est “Pokot” dans la Vallée du Rift au nord du Kenya. Il étudie la transformation d’un modèle pastoral mobile d’utilisation de l’espace, reposant sur une approche de réseau flexible en combinant les chemins transitoires et les lieux, en un modèle “postpastoraliste” plus enclin à l’installation d’un lieu, lié à l’augmentation de la tendance sédentaire, de la privatisation des terres, à une définition plus claire des frontières internes et externes, et lié à l’émergence rapide d’écoles, d’églises et autres structures physiques permanentes.

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African Studies Review
  • ISSN: 0002-0206
  • EISSN: 1555-2462
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