Cooperative Pastoral Production: Reconceptualizing the Relationship between Pastoral Labor and Production
Journal article, Peer reviewed
MetadataShow full item record
- Journal articles 
Original versionAmerican Anthropologist. 2012, 114 (2), 309-321. 10.1111/j.1548-1433.2012.01427.x
A review of the literature concerning nomadic pastoralism reveals a prevalent assumption of a positive effect of labor inputs on pastoral production. However, studies that have tried to quantify the relationship between household labor availability and production are characterized by contradictory results where one reason may be related to the fact that nomadic pastoralists cooperate by sharing and exchanging labor. As a consequence, previous quantitative research may have neglected an important level of social organization. The prevalence of cooperative labor investment among pastoralists may indicate the presence of scale-dependent effects of pastoral labor on production. This article aims at developing a conceptual model illustrating this possibility, where the scale dependent effects of labor inputs are conceptualized as changes in the relationship between the costs and benefits of labor at different levels of social organization.