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Anthropology Migrant Workers of the WoDaaBe Nomads Article Paper

Society for Anthropology in Community Colleges

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I’m trying to learn for my Writing class and I’m stuck. Can you help?


Read the article carefully and write at least five paragraphs following these guidelines:

Knowing What To Do by: WoDaaBe Nomads (This is the article, it is attached below)

  • At least two paragraphs summarizing the main events, themes, and/or arguments of the article. Make sure to include in your summary the author’s research methods, the length of fieldwork, and any other pertinent information relevant to contextualizing the article.
  • At least two paragraphs critically evaluating the article and connecting its content to some of the concepts and examples discussed in class and/or the textbook.
  • At least one paragraph explaining how the reading connects to current events and/or current research in the field. For example, what are the broader implications of the article? Why are the findings important for science and society?
  • Responses must follow the MLA style and use 12 point font, Times New Roman, and be double spaced. Read the assignment's Rubric for evaluation information.

CLASS READINGS: Brown subsistence, Art of seeing, tools and their humans.

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Knowing What to Do in the City: WoDaaBe Nomads and Migrant Workers in Niger Author(s): Kristín Loftsdóttir Source: Anthropology Today, Vol. 18, No. 1 (Feb., 2002), pp. 9-13 Published by: Royal Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3695135 Accessed: 13-06-2017 21:44 UTC REFERENCES Linked references are available on JSTOR for this article: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3695135?seq=1&cid=pdf-reference#references_tab_contents You may need to log in to JSTOR to access the linked references. JSTOR is a not-for-profit service that helps scholars, researchers, and students discover, use, and build upon a wide range of content in a trusted digital archive. We use information technology and tools to increase productivity and facilitate new forms of scholarship. For more information about JSTOR, please contact support@jstor.org. Your use of the JSTOR archive indicates your acceptance of the Terms & Conditions of Use, available at http://about.jstor.org/terms Royal Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland is collaborating with JSTOR to digitize, preserve and extend access to Anthropology Today This content downloaded from 209.129.113.12 on Tue, 13 Jun 2017 21:44:05 UTC All use subject to http://about.jstor.org/terms Knowing what to do in the city WoDaaBe Nomads and Migrant Workers in Niger If there is another drought, another time when the majority of KRISTIN cows die, I have some skills to help my family in the bush. I know different types of work, I know different languages, I LOFTSDOTTIR know what to do in the city (WoDaaBe migrant worker, 18.01.1997). Kristsn Loftsddttir is Assistant Professor at the University of Iceland. She received her PhD in Cultural Anthropology from the University ofArizona. Her doctoral dissertation, 'The bush is sweet: Desire and Mobility has long served as a vital adaptive mechanism in human societies. Today mobility is increasingly focused on migration to cities, leading to growing vulnerability and identity among WoDaaBe in uprooting among many peoples. Scholars focusing on Niger' (2000), is based on ethnographic fieldwork migrant work and sedentarization of pastoral nomads (e.g. conducted among the WoDaaBe in Niger between August 1996 and June 1998 and during September 1999, urban migration often results from pauperization and loss a of productive resources. However, mobility, though it has a Mohammed Salih 1995 and Fratkin 1997) indicate that a and focusing on ethnicity, The author at a gathering in the bush north of Tchin-Tabaraden (for been perceived as one of the most destructive forces of migrant work and global relations. She is currently working on a project on modernity, constitutes for pastoralists a constant feature of detailed caption see innerfront cover). their lives (Agrawal 1999). their herds. However, in recent times, especially since the In this article I would like to show how urban migration images of WoDaaBe and Fulani in a historical context. also involves an enormous amount of adaptation and cre- 1980s drought, migration to cities has become an important ativity. I focus on WoDaaBe1 migrant workers' involve-alternative subsistence strategy for these pastoralists. Some Her photographs of the WoDaaBe have been exhibited WoDaaBe migrant workers in Niamey take advantage of the ment in what they call artisana, the making and selling of relatively recent interest shown by the Western 'popular' craft products.2 I discuss the ambiguities involved in this in Iceland (2000 and 2001), and she has also published two novels. occupation, as well as the migrant workers' conception ofmedia in their culture - celebrating WoDaaBe as isolated and authentic - by making and selling craft objects to midtheir involvement in migrant work as being in continuity dlemen and directly to tourists. with other subsistence strategies, emphasizing mobility Ethnographic fieldwork in rather than sedentarization and loss of livestock. The disClifford argues that the definition of objects or people as Niger between August 1996 exotic has to do with historical relations of power (Clifford and June 1998 was supported cussion is based on a two-year field study among Her email is kristinl@hi. is by the Nordic Africa InstituteWoDaaBe and the Rotary International. June 1998. Research was also conducted in Niger for six weeks in 1995 1985, 1988). But even though migrant work can be seen as in Niger, carried out between August 1996 and accentuating WoDaaBe marginalization within a more WoDaaBe in Niger base their economic life and ethnicinterconnected world and involving subsistence activities identity strongly on cattle rearing and a nomadic way of life.unrelated to herding and animals, the migrant workers seek and September 1999. There are a number of individuals In the Tchin-Tabaraden area, where I conducted a part of myto explain their work in continuity with WoDaaBe fallback research, repeated droughts resulting from various histor-activities, thus de-emphasizing the break with pastoral who contributed in various ways to the making of this article, but I want especially to thank the many WoDaaBe individuals who generously helped me during my stay in Niger, as well as the AT referees for useful comments and suggestions on an earlier version of this article. ical-political factors have caused many families to lose anomadism. It can be argued in this context that the craft prolarge part of their livestock, leading young people to seekduction, and migrant work in general, constitutes for many subsistence through migrant work. Even though WoDaaBeWoDaaBe a new way of using mobility, which is, as subsistence economy relies strongly on trade relations withAgrawal puts it, the 'most evident feature of the lives of other societies, they have historically relied mainly on agri- migrant pastoralists' (Agrawal 1999). culture as a way of accumulating income to reconstitute 1. The capitalized B and D WoDaaBe strategies of diversification STUDY AREA refer to the glottalized consonants in the Fulfulde Pastoral societies generally live in conditions of insecurity, and for this reason make use of various resources in order to be able to respond better to changing circumstances (Bruijn and Dijk 1999). The sedentary sector can histori- language. It should be noted that WoDaaBe are Tchin-Tabaradene characterized by great 0 o cally be seen as providing forms of diversification for pas- diversity, my research being N I'G E z conducted among WoDaaBe in the Tchin-Tabaraden area -d toral societies, thus to some extent helping to minimize risk (Park 1993). Pastoral nomadism can be defined as an , Tahoua NIAMEY and Niamey. 'adjustment to a particular set of ecological conditions, at a 2. WoDaaBe generally refer to craft production as artisana (probably derived given technological level, along a continuum of numerous co z potential economic possibilities' (Johnson 1969). rD from the French artisanat). <5a. Diversifications of livelihood strategies are, furthermore, The term artisana is used in this article to refer to craft production for commercial purposes. 3. I realize that 'Western' and 'Westerner' are problematic terms, assuming too much homogeneity. However, I find the concept useful when used in 0 WoDaaBe livelihood in the -i bush involves a close co- o existence of people and 0 . animals. Photo taken in the bush southwest of TchinTabaraden, autumn 1997. ANTHROPOLOGY TODAY VOL 18 NO 1, FEBRUARY This content downloaded from 209.129.113.12 on Tue, 13 Jun 2017 21:44:05 UTC All use subject to http://about.jstor.org/terms 2002 9 anthropology today indigenous collective rights Marcus Colchester 0? anthropology and se David Price British Muslims and Tal Alison Shaw WoDaaBe in the cit Kristin Loftsd6ttir Isaac Schapera (2) Adam Kuper the euro AAA2001 anthropology ISSN 0268- Ol RAI " 7[ This february 2002 - 21:44:05 vol 18 - no 1 content downloaded from 209.129.113.12 on Tue, 13 Jun 2017 UTC All use subject to http://about.jstor.org/terms important for many Sahelian people (see for example Rain Mobility is important for WoDaaBe identity and livelihood. This photo of the author was taken north of 1999). WoDaaBe economic activities have historically fluctuated through various such engagements in farming and herding. WoDaaBe agricultural practices have developed primarily through loss of cattle, as Stenning argues, even though there are cases of more affluent herders who Tchin-Tabaraden in September 1999. also farm (Stenning 1957). Nomadism is frequently found Frankenberg's sense, as alongside cultivation as the herd is reconstituted, the relational terms denoting those belonging to the centre nomads leaving their fields during the dry season when the of the world economy as opposed to those on the fields need little or no work, and paying a minimal fee to agricultural populations to keep an eye on them (Stenning margins, furthermore 1957). The earliest existing information on WoDaaBe cultiva- expressing a certain relationship to power and colonial expansion (Frankenberg 1993:265). tion relates to the Fulani jihad in the West African savannah; in 1810 the Fulani gained control over the 4. WoDaaBe use mbodagansi to differentiate themselves from other ethnic groups. The concept of mbodagansi is quite similar to the Fulani idea of pulaaku, which, like the WoDaaBe Hausa states, and set up the Sokoto Caliphate. Although the extent of WoDaaBe participation in the jihad is disputed, it is likely that some WoDaaBe gained slaves and agricultural lands in the process (Bonfiglioli 1988, Stenning 1957), while the unstable political situation in the mbodagansi, refers to social- Caliphate during and after the jihad probably also caused many WoDaaBe to lose their animals and thus turn to cul- moral rules expressing the core of the people's ethnic identity (see further discussion in Loftsd6ttir 2001b). tivation to reconstitute their herds. Various sources indi- traditional method of herd reconstitution (see Hamidou cate the periodical involvement of WoDaaBe in 1980; see also Loftsd6ttir 2002b). Even though some agricultural activities at the beginning of the 19th century, Agrawal, A. 1999. Greener pastures. Durham and London: Duke University WoDaaBe worked as hired herders after the 1960s-1970s usually as a response to losses of livestock (Bonfiglioli 1988, Dupire 1962a, 1972, 1962b). drought, benefiting from their reputation as skilled herders 1990), many left the pastoral economy and Other strategies of survival have existed as a response (Bernus to migrated to neighbouring countries, especially to Nigeria marginal situations. Dupire, writing in the early 1960s, argues that only extreme poverty forces WoDaaBeand to the Ivory Coast. Marianne Rupp's report on the general situation after the drought states that often a third or become hired herders (Dupire 1962a, 1962b), but this more of the extended families were forced to seek paid occupation has in more recent times become quite imporwork in other places (Rupp 1976). Some of these tant as a fallback activity for many WoDaaBe groups WoDaaBe gained income by selling various 'traditional' (White 1997; Bonfiglioli 1985). During times of difficulty Press. Bernus, E. 1990. Dates, dromedaries, and drought: Diversification in Tuareg pastoral systems. In J.G. Galaty and D.L. Johnson (eds) The world of pastoralism, pp. 149-176. New York: Guilford Press. Beckwith, C. 1983. Niger's Wodaabe: 'People of the medicines and charms, thus taking advantage of their repWoDaaBe women have been paid for repairing calabashes, among other ethnic groups as knowledgeable in pounding millet, and braiding other women's hair utation in market towns (Dupire 1962a, Wilson 1992). It is possible this regard. While men also often gained income by the homes of wealthy people or company premthat such activities, not related to herding, formed guarding an ises in Nigeria, and from engagement in various kinds of important foundation for the development of migrant labour, women earned money by pounding millet labour in the cities. These services may have originatedmanual as and collecting firewood and fodder (Rupp 1976; see also an extension of the traditional practice of women travelBurnham 1999). ling to market towns to exchange milk for millet. taboo.' National Geographic 164(4):483510. Bonfiglioli, A.M. 1988. DuDal: Histoire defamille et histoire de troupeau chez un groupe de WoDaaBe du Niger. Cambridge: CUP. - 1985. Evolution de la Extensive migrant working among the WoDaaBe prob-When I conducted my fieldwork among the WoDaaBe in the northwestern part of Niger during 1996-98, migrant ably began in the aftermath of the late 1960s-early 1970s drought (see also Swift et al. 1984), since WoDaaBe life work formed an important part of the economy and of propridt6 animale chez les WoDaaBe du Niger. Journal des Africanistes 55(1-2):29-37. people's lives. Although it is difficult to estimate the has always been greatly influenced by the policies and Bovin, M. 1990. Nomads of number of people involved at any given time, it can be overall circumstances of the Niger state (Loftsd6ttir 2000). Various policies of the nation-state, in combination with observed that a great majority of families from the Tchin- the drought. In M. Bovin and L. Manger (eds) Adaptive strategies in area had some family members working in Niger's rapidly growing population (increasing from Tabaraden 2.4 million to 4.3 million inhabitants between 1950 and 1975, cities, some of whom had been migrant workers since the drought in the mid-1980s (see also Bovin 1990), though for example), considerably reduced access to good agri- African arid land, pp.29- 57. Uppsala: The Scandinavian Institute of African Studies. they still regularly spent time with the extended family in cultural land, thus preventing the nomads from using their Bruijn, M. and van Dijk, H.J.W. 1999. Insecurity and pastoral development in the Sahel. Development the pastoral area. In addition to the occupations previously mentioned, men engage in trade of various items, or work as labourers, while women earn money by braiding hair and Change 30:115-139. for women of other ethnicities. These different kinds of Burnham, P. 1999. Pastoralism migrant work are often organized according to lineage affiliation, probably because individuals learn the appro- under pressure? In V. Azarya et al. (eds) Pastoralists under priate skills and contacts from other members of their lin- pressure?, pp. 269-283. eage group. Leiden: Brill. Chesi, G. 1978. The last Relationships of power Africans. Worgl: PerlingerVerlag. WoDaaBe engagement in the production of craft objects for commercial purposes began only after the 1980s drought. In Niger, Tuareg craft products had long been WoDaaBe women are known for being particularly skilled -0 in repairing calabashes, a sometimes using this skill to rz earn additional income. Photo taken in the bush z southwest of Tchin- U) commercialized for Westerners,3 a process which is closely entangled with issues of colonialization and power (Davis 1999). Collection and marketing of 'exotic' objects to Westerners has, of course, taken place for several centuries, although this process was intensified and reified through the colonial period (Errington 1998). 0 Tabaraden, autumn 1997. 10 ANTHROPOLOGY TODAY VOL 18 NO 1, FEBRUARY This content downloaded from 209.129.113.12 on Tue, 13 Jun 2017 21:44:05 UTC All use subject to http://about.jstor.org/terms 2002 Left: Preparing for Yake dance in Tchin-Tabaraden at the end of the rainy season in 1996. Centre: Making jewellery to sell to tourists. Right: Jewellery making in the bush north of Tchin- Tabaraden, September 1999. r 10 a D ?o Clifford, J. 1988. The 0 predicament of culture: .-1 z Cs z Twentieth-century t1 ethnography, literature, and art. Cambridge, MA: ciation with 'nature', thus placing them outside time in Fabian's sense (Fabian 1984) as well as reproducing static notions of them as existing outside the contemporary Harvard University Press. Conklin , B.A. and Graham, L.R. 1995. The shifting middle ground. American Anthropologist 97(4):695- world. As Clifford notes, the issue of authenticity has been 710. of major concern in the acquisition and collection of art objects, objects being hierarchically placed in a system where authenticity is somehow associated with a lack of Davis, E.A. 1999. Metamorphosis in the culture market of Niger. 'modernity' (Clifford 1988; also Errington 1998). American Anthropologist 101(3):485-501. Dupire, M. 1972. Lesfacteurs WoDaaBe craft objects are thus seen as interesting by the consumers of these products because they are conceptualized as untouched by 'modernity.' humains de l'dconomie pastorale. Etudes Popular representations of WoDaaBe in the West not only contribute to an increased interest in WoDaaBe Nigbriennes, No. 6. Niamey: Centre Nigerien r 0 de Recherches en Sciences 8 Humaines. objects, but also inform, to a certain extent, the relationships which develop through artisana. Some tourists have -, - 1962a. Peuls nomades. Paris: Institut d'Ethnologie. - 1962b. Trade and markets even expressed disappointment with the WoDaaBe Be in the economy of the nomadic Fulani of Niger (Bororo). In P. Bohannan and G. Dalton (eds) Markets in Africa, pp.335362. Evanston, IL: Northwestern University Press. Northwestern University African Studies, Number 9. Engelbert, V. 1971. Assembling each year for a season of dances, Bororo herdsmen of Niger celebrate the rains. In G.M. Grosvenor (ed.) Nomads of the world, pp.172-195. National Geographic Society. Errington, S. 1998. The death of authentic primitive art and other tales of progress. Berkeley: University of California Press. Fabian, J. 1983. The time and the other. New York: Colombia University Press. Frankenberg, R. 1993. White women, race matters. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. Fratkin, E. 1997. Pastoralism: Governance and encountered in the city, feeling that they do not live up to Along with many other groups, WoDaaBe have become increasingly popular in the commercial mass media, being the images offered by the popular media. The relationship between WoDaaBe and Westerners is thus entangled with featured in high profile magazines and 'coffee-table' issues of different levels of power, embodied in the privi- books (for example Beckwith 1983, Chesi 1978, Englebert 1971, Van Offelen and Beckwith 1983), and this has led to leged position of Westerners seeking 'authentic' natives and the increased poverty of WoDaaBe. The discrepancies of power between those selling an increased interest in objects identified with the WoDaaBe people. This growing interest, which arises at a time when the WoDaaBe are becoming more and more marginalized, takes the form mostly of discourses that reflect them as peaceful and beautiful people, existing outside history, preoccupied with exotic performances, with a objects and those buying them is further intensified by the fact that the very few individuals able to accrue wealth from craft production have generally benefited greatly from friendships and contacts with their anasara ('white', Western) friends. With their assistance, these WoDaaBe have been able to invest in small sale-shelters, in addition particular focus on dance performances taking place during the rainy season (see further discussion in to gaining access to extensive sales networks. It is prob- Loftsd6ttir 2000, 1997). ably for this reason that many WoDaaBe directly express a friendship with a Westerner as being a road to prosperity, a strategy ensuring a more secure survival - a further indication of the problematic relationship b ...
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Student’s Name
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Pastoral Nomadism and Migrant Workers of the WoDaaBe
The ability of individuals to move from one region to another has critically influenced
human societies. Pastoral nomadism is a means of mobility used by several communities in
Africa and some parts of Asia. Therefore, it may get regarded as a way of life for individuals
who do not repeatedly live in the same place but rather move frequently. Over recent years,
human mobility has increasingly focused on migration toward urban areas, thus jeopardizing the
cultural activities undertaken by these nomadic groups by uprooting individuals from their native
groups. Despite the destructive nature of mobility towards cultures, research conducted over a
two-year period revealed that many migrant workers from the WoDaaBe community of Niger
consider migration vital to their livelihoods.
The economic foundation of the WoDaaBe community is mainly based on cattl...

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