Political stratification among pastoral nomads.

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69 Scopus citations


The development of institutionalised political hierarchies amongst nomadic pastoralists is hindered by the presence of two social factors: a low population density and a strong geographical mobility. These two factors tend to produce restrained and egalitarian political units. These, confronted by more important foreign groups or by internal conflicts respond by flight in one case or by fission in the other. When mobility is limited, by population density or the appearance of economic activities unsuited to movement, political stratification begins to develop. Small groups are conquered by their more important neighbours or are forced to unite to defend themselves. Amongst nomadic pastoralists, the only factor capable of producing stable political hierarchies is the presence nearby of sedentary states. -K.Sutton

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)361-374
Number of pages14
JournalUnknown Journal
StatePublished - Jan 1 1979

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Environmental Science
  • General Earth and Planetary Sciences


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