chapter  3
36 Pages

Old (Risk-Averse) Pastoralism versus New (High Reliability) Pastoralism

ByLynn Huntsinger, Keith Labnow

The counter-narrative is of pastoralists as a high-reliability institution in the face of unpredictability and stands in contrast to the development narrative of pastoralists whose risk aversion is purportedly an ecological adaptation to that unpredictability. The pastoralist in search of reliability is, in contrast, actively engaged in ongoing efforts to reduce the probability of those hazards s/he cannot avoid by managing temporal and spatial diversity in grazing opportunities and diversity in livestock capabilities and response. The New Pastoralism counter-narrative based in high reliability theory interprets pastoralist behavior quite differently. High reliability theory is a relatively recent development of organization theorists, many located at or around the University of California at Berkeley, who have been interested in how complex organizations and institutions maintain their activities in situations where failure, error and accidents are highly probable. High technical competence in a high reliability institution must be matched by continual high performance.