Migration and inter-village livelihood relationships around Mount Meru, Tanzania: An essay on social networks and the livelihood in the sedentary rural society

G. Ueda

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1 Citation (Scopus)


Taking the cluster of villages as an analytical frame of reference. rather than focusing on a single village, this paper discusses the role played by social networks, which spread beyond a village in maintaining the livelihood of smallholders in the sedentary rural society in East Africa. Selecting three villages located in the upper, middle, and lower zones on the flanks of Mount Meru. Northern Tanzania, it first examines the process of inter-village migration to illuminate characteristics of kin networks developing among the local Meru people. Second, the paper points out that the resultant social networks show considerable selectivity in the destination of migration for a particular village and that some households remaining within the upper village have spatially extended to lower areas to secure access to land through the networks, It then investigates forms of inter-village livelihood relationships and the role of social networks in mediating these relationships. Although the space of livestock consignment tends to be contained within the village of respondents and its vicinity, there are a few cases of inter-village consignment through kin networks, including the cases where the consignment was observed along with the inter-village acquisition of fodder through the same network, and where it helped to evacuate livestock from the drought-hit lower zone to the middle zone. Based on the historical recognition that the introduction of exotic dairy cattle in the upper zone restructured the inter-village relationships. This essay suggests the necessity in future investigation to examine the inter-village relationships regarding livestock raising with special reference to the pair of possible connection between fodder as commodity and commercialised production of milk in the upper zone on the one hand, and between increased fodder provision and irrigation in the lower zone on the other. It also illuminates that the middle newly-opened village of multi-ethnic nature, largely created by governmental reallocation of land formerly occupied by large-scale plantations has had a lesser significance for the local Meru people in the inter-village relationships concerning livestock.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-33
Number of pages33
JournalScience Reports of the Tohoku University, Series 7: Geography
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2000


  • Commodification
  • Land tenure
  • Livestock
  • Migration
  • Social network
  • Tanzania
  • The meru

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)


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