University of Sussex
Simula, Giulia.pdf (4.29 MB)

Pastoralism 100 ways: navigating different market arrangements in Sardinia

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posted on 2023-06-10, 05:37 authored by giulia simula
This thesis examines how different Sardinian pastoral producers engage with markets and market uncertainties. Starting from three sites (mountain, hill and plain), the data were collected with a qualitative methodology combining semi-structured interviews, participatory observation, ethnography and photo elicitation through 12 months of fieldwork. In this thesis I argue that when we look at ‘real markets’ the industrial and artisanal market arrangements are not as separated and antagonistic. Market engagement and responses to market uncertainties are not determined simply by supply and demand and by ‘the market’, nor are they only a matter of individual choices or ‘efficient’/’inefficient’ farm management. Instead, by grounding the analysis in fourteen in-depth case studies, I argue that, when we look at how pastoralists engage in markets and respond to uncertainties, we should think of production, creation of livelihood and market engagement as co-produced, intertwined, and embedded. I show how pastoralists’ engagement with markets is influenced by livelihood needs, asset ownership, access to resources, labor availability, social networks, relationships with institutions and a sense of identity. If we look at the different ways in which these factors interact, there are a hundred and more ways in which pastoralists navigate market uncertainties. Despite this great diversity, there are important similarities that deserve attention: I identify five types of market arrangement that emerge out of different social, material and political factors, both exogenous and endogenous. Market engagement is thus relational, is co-constituted with production and livelihoods, embedded in society and institutions, and governed by social rules and regulations, allowing uncertainties to be confronted. By looking at actual market engagement – and how livelihoods, class relations and social identities are related with this – I therefore challenge the simplistic and often ideologically-framed distinction between industrial and artisanal markets. By looking at real markets and diverse, hybrid engagements around milk and cheese production, important implications for the design of policies and advocacy strategies emerge, which are rooted in better understandings of how livestock producers engage with markets.


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  • Institute of Development Studies Theses

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  • doctoral

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  • phd


  • eng


University of Sussex

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