Pastoralism in China: National Policies and Local Practices

Led by Åshild Kolås
Jan 2008 - Dec 2011
As pastoralists in China change their way of life from subsistence activities to ranching and other income generating activities, government policies to sedentarise nomadic herders and fence pastures have a vital impact on social and environmental conditions on the grasslands. The project 'Pastoralism in China: National Policies and Local Practices' focuses on the issue of rangeland environmental degradation, investigating the interface between the use of resources (especially grazing land and water), the legal framework regulating rights to resources, policy implementation and the negotiation of rights within and between local communities. The project studies the dynamics between policy-making and implementation, socio-economic relations and resource management, and the impacts of these dynamics on a fragile natural environment.

This project was funded by the Research Council of Norway (FRIMUF).


Peer-reviewed Journal Article

Kolås, Åshild (2014) Degradation Discourse and Green Governmentality in the Xilinguole Grasslands of Inner Mongolia, Development and Change 45(2): 308–328.
Kolås, Åshild (2011) Reclaiming the Forest: Ewenki Reindeer Herding as Exception, Human Organization 70(4): 397–404.
Xie, Yuanyuan & Åshild Kolås (2010) Jin sanshi nian lai nuowei sami ren shenfen diwei de bianhua [Changes in the status of Norwegian Sami identity in the past thirty years], Shijie Minzu [World Ethno-National Studies] 2010(3): 81–90.

Book Chapter

Kolås, Åshild & Tashi Nyima (2019) Pastoralism in Tibet Today: A Study of Pastoral Policy and Practice, in Palni, Lok Man S.; Rebon Banerjee Dhar; & O.P. Tandon, eds, The State of Ecology of the Tibetan Plateau. New Delhi: Academic Foundation (185–198).
Kolås, Åshild (2015) Introduction. Writing the “Reindeer Ewenki”, in Reclaiming the Forest. the Ewenki Reindeer Herders of Aoluguya. Oxford: Berghahn (1–17).
Kolås, Åshild (2015) Ambiguities of the Aoluguya Ewenki, in Reclaiming the Forest. the Ewenki Reindeer Herders of Aoluguya. Oxford: Berghahn (61–76).

Edited Volume

Kolås, Åshild; & Yuanyuan Xie, eds, (2015) Reclaiming the Forest. The Ewenki Reindeer Herders of Aoluguya. Oxford: Berghahn.
Kolås, Åshild; & Zha Luo, eds, (2013) Pastoralism in Contemporary China: Policy and Practice. Beijing: Social Science Academic Press.

Conference Paper

Nyima, Tashi 2010 The Social Construction of Sanjiangyuan: An Analysis of China's Sustainable Development Discourse in Yushu Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, presented at 12th Seminar of the International Association for Tibetan Studies, , 15–21 August.
Kolås, Åshild 2009 Lost in a State of Exceptions: Ewenki Reindeer Herders in China, presented at Annual conference of the Norwegian Association for Development Research, , 24 November.
Nyima, Tashi 2009 What is 'Development'? An Ethnographic Analysis of Development Discourses in Tibet, presented at The Seventh Nordic Tibet Research Conference, , 25 September.
Nyima, Tashi 2009 Tibetan Pastoralists on the Move - A Study of China’s Development Policy and Practice, presented at The Future of China’s ’Wild West’ – Tibet and Xinjiang, , 24 September.

Book Review

Kolås, Åshild (2008) Review of Charlene Makley, ed., The Violence of Liberation: Gender and Tibetan Buddhist Revival in Post-Mao China, in Asian Studies Review 32(4): 537–539.

Past Events


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