/ Forschung

Call for abstracts: "Pastoralists and Covid-19"

Special Issue in the journal Nomadic Peoples

During the Covid-19 pandemic, governments introduced measures to limit mobility and curb social contact as a way to contain the spread of the coronavirus. Harsh Covid-19 measures were implemented in countries with, among others, pastoral and agro-pastoral populations. Restrictions were often more disruptive than the disease itself. Dryland pastoralists are well known for living off uncertainty and bouncing back from disasters, including epidemics and epizootics. Key to this resilience has been the mobility, flexibility and reciprocity of pastoral life and livelihoods, although these strategies have been under increasing stress from developments common in dryland areas such as marginalization, political instability, land grabs and increasing climatic volatility. So, what happens when on top of these challenges a global disaster strikes and governments order people to ‘stay at home’ and be ‘socially distant’?  

This special issue explores how pastoralists experienced, understood and dealt with the Covid-19 pandemic and its restrictions. What were the impacts of these restrictions, and how did pastoralists respond to them? What are narratives and interpretations regarding the disease and/or associated restrictions? Were there any surprises and unexpected positives and outcomes? What happened when restrictions were lifted? Have there been lasting and structural changes following the Covid-19 pandemic and its containment measures? The aim is to contribute to the emerging literature on Covid-19 and pastoralism and invites contributions that explore specific topics in depth, such as impacts of border closures on grazing, transhumance and trade, experiences of young pastoralist women, and education. The view of pastoralists is broad, including, but not limited to, (semi)nomadic pastoralists, agro-pastoralists and urban pastoralists.    

The Covid-19 pandemic also changed the nature of doing research, similarly to how insecurity in places like the Sahel led to reconfigurations in doing fieldwork. Faced with travel restrictions that prevented researchers from doing fieldwork, many embraced the 'methodological mess' advocated for fieldwork in high uncertainty contexts and turned to remote and/or more collaborative forms of research by engaging (non-academic) friends and former research assistants as co-producers of knowledge and researchers in their own terms (co-researchers). Contributions that reflect on such collaborative experiments and/or that are (co-)authored by pastoralist co-researchers are welcome. The word count for each paper will be between 5000-6000 words including references and footnotes.  

Submission Deadline: 01 June 2023.