This article draws on material from the author's book (see †, especially Ch. 5).
The Puzzle of Group Ranch Subdivision in Kenya's Maasailand
Article first published online: 15 NOV 2007
Development and Change
Volume 38, Issue 5, pages 889–910, September 2007
How to Cite
Mwangi, E. (2007), The Puzzle of Group Ranch Subdivision in Kenya's Maasailand. Development and Change, 38: 889–910. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-7660.2007.00438.x
- Issue published online: 15 NOV 2007
- Article first published online: 15 NOV 2007
This article explores the motivations underlying Maasai pastoralists' support for the subdivision and parcellization of their collectively held group ranches, an outcome that is inconsistent with theoretical expectation. Examining four group ranches that formed part of the wave of subdivisions that occurred in the 1980s, it finds that Maasai herders were inclined to support subdivision in order to capture gains in a new property assignment or to reduce distributional disadvantages within the status quo. Importantly, however, subdivision also emerged as a critical defensive strategy against internal and external threats to Maasai land claims. Incorporating this defensive strategy (aimed at securing individual claims) within the individual's calculus for seeking exclusive rights provides insights into why a theoretically unexpected property rights transformation took place.