Dynamics of herd structures and herding strategies in West Africa: A study of market integration and ecological adaptation
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This study is an attempt to find variables in the technical, economical and anthropological literature on pastoralism that can be used to gain an overview of cattle herding strategies in West Africa and the nature of their integration into wider regional market in which ecological differentiation plays an important role. It is largely concerned with the implications of this economic integration for the analysis of herding strategies and it attempts to identify variables which cattle herders manipulate to achieve herd management objectives and adaptation to specific constraints and market opportunities. It focuses on the extent to which herd structures reflect herd management practices and integration into markets. This is a significant variable, and not so abstract as it may seem, since the original image of pastoralists as substantivists who were more concerned with cattle as social wealth than with economic efficiency originated from the observations of high numbers of male cattle among African herds.