The diversification of pastoralist herding: navigating socio-climatic risk via mobile technologies

Ingrid Boas*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


This paper examines the diversification of pastoralist herding practices in the context of socio-climatic change and the ways in which mobile technologies shape this diversification. It does so to offer a plural perspective on the relation between climate change and human mobility, showing the heterogenous and socially embedded ways in which it unfolds. Pastoralists have been moving in response to rains and droughts for centuries. This mobility is, however, faced with numerous challenges, related to privatisation of land, processes of urbanisation impacting on pastoralist livelihoods and changing rainfall patterns making decision-making on livestock mobility increasingly complex. This paper examines how pastoralists are navigating these challenges through the use of basic phones, smartphones and social media, via a case study of the Kenyan Laikipia Highlands. It demonstrates how these mobile technologies enable herding practices to endure and for them to be reshaped by taking on a mix of physical and digital forms. This happens through social media platforms, virtual herding and through pluralised networks of information exchange on grazing strategies navigating the socio-climatic limitations imposed on them.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Ethnic and Migration Studies
Issue number14
Publication statusPublished - 24 May 2022


  • climate change
  • climate mobilities
  • digitalisation
  • mobility
  • Pastoralism


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