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Land, people and post-socialist policies in southern Siberia

The study is based on sixteen months of ethnographic research carried out between 2003 and 2007 in communities practising transhumant pastoralism in the mountainous landscape of southern Siberia. It focuses on centrally defined land policies and their local implementation in the context of post-socialist land reform, with particular reference to the process of land allocation, land titling and the effect of these factors on pastoral resource use and livelihoods. The study compares four sites populated by Buryats and other indigenous people and distinguished by contrasting regimes of land tenure and varying conditions of resource availability. The literature on post-socialist land reform in Russia attributes its slow pace to the control of local elites over resources and shortages of capital and household labour. The present research finds that household livelihoods relying on mobile pastoral production are more economically viable in conditions of labour and capital shortage in comparison with more intensified methods. The viability of local household production coupled with resource shortages stimulated a de facto implementation of central policies in the research area. The study finds that legislative ambiguity and the weaknesses of government implementation mechanisms are significant factors influencing reform. The research findings contribute to scholarly literature on pastoral resource use, underlining the importance of flexible access to grazing as a condition to sustain pastoral resources and livelihoods. It demonstrates that post-socialist land policies aimed at land privatisation exclude certain populations from resource use and increase grazing pressure on common pastures. The most pronounced effect of land privatisation was recorded at the research site where grazing land is scarce. Individual households’ access to resources improves as a function of personal connections, economic wellbeing and the education level of household members. The individualisation of land rights, as the research suggests, accentuates social stratification of pastoral communities in post-socialist settings.
Date January 2009
CreatorsIntigrinova, T. P.
PublisherUniversity College London (University of London)
Source SetsEthos UK
Detected LanguageEnglish
TypeElectronic Thesis or Dissertation

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