Tuesday 6
Resilience at the margin 1
G. Kofinas
› 11:35 - 12:30 (55min)
› JOFFRE 1-2
How informal institutions add resilience to rural SESs of Alaska and Kenya
Shauna Burnsilver  1@  
1 : School of Human Evolution and Social Change, Center for the Study of Institutional Diversity, School of SustainabilityArizona State University  (SHESC, CSID, SOS, ASU)  -  Website
SHESC 233, P. O. Box 872402 Tempe, AZ 85287-2402 -  États-Unis

At first glance, Maasai pastoralists from Kenya and Alaska (USA) Iñupiat hunters and fishers may seem quite different. However, look beyond ecological differences in savannas and tundra systems, and find that both groups live in resource environments characterized by extreme variability. Both groups have depended on highly developed cultural-behavioral adaptations to cope with observed ecological variability. Yet, both Maasai and Inupiat face serious and emerging challenges from climate change, land tenure transformations and economic change. All these issues represent signficant sources of uncertainty for household and communities. Theory and ethnography suggest that social institutions, such as livestock and food sharing, and kinship and clan ties, and cooperative land use norms have acted historically to spread risk, mediate scarcity and increase access to critical resources in times of need. Literature within sociology, anthropology, geography and institutional theory (i.e. work in the tradition of E. Ostrom et al.) currently supports that social capital institutions, which act both horizontally (to link community members together at local scales) and vertically (linking households and communities to entities that are connected at higher scales) remain important to pastoral and arctic livelihoods. This talk will cite key empirical examples from both systems as examples of how "traditional" and informal social institutions and structures continue to represent critical sources of flexibility for groups grappling with change at the margins.

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