This side of subdivision: Individualization and collectivization dynamics in a pastoralist group ranch held under collective title (ScienceDirect Publication: Journal of Arid Environments)

Publication date: Available online 25 April 2017
Source:Journal of Arid Environments
Author(s): Laura German, Elizabeth King, Ryan Unks, Naiputari Paul Wachira
Many scholars of rangeland institutions have found fertile theoretical and empirical ground in early efforts by the Kenyan government and international development agencies to socially engineer a shift from open range to discrete territories held under collective freehold title. A rich literature on the dynamics of subsequent subdivision of these “Group Ranches” elucidates a complex interplay of exogenous and endogenous drivers. This paper, on the contrary, explores the dynamic tensions between individualization and collectivization of land and related benefit flows in a group ranch that has thus far not undergone formal subdivision. Research was conducted in Koija Group Ranch, one of 13 group ranches located in Mukogodo Division, on the Laikipia plateau. Drawing on key informant interviews and focus group discussions with those differentially positioned relative to the benefits of de facto processes of rangeland exclosure, and household surveys to document trends in participation and perception, we explore how these processes are perceived and governed. Cross-case comparison highlights the suite of factors shaping which forms of enclosure are contested; the diversity of legitimizing tactics that ensue from such contestation; and the balancing act these tactics represent between retention of privilege and restoration of peaceful relations among group ranch members.