Gerd Spittler: Hirtenarbeit [PDF]


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Die Welt der Kamelhirten und Ziegenhirtinnen von Timia

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453 pp.
82 b/w photos, 5 maps, 4 tables, 7 genealogies, subject and persons index

Text language: German

As pastoral work has seldom been described, we know little about it. Nevertheless, we can imagine it. The bible conveys the picture of the good shepherd. Bucolic poetry which began with Theokrit and Virgil introduced the pastoral. Historic literature describes the barbaric nomade who tries to destroy occidental civilisation. This book is an attempt to more accurately describe and analyse the shepherd’s work. It is the result of several years of field research with Tuareg camelherds and female goatherds who live in the Aïr, a mountain range in the Southern part of the Central Sahara (Northern Niger). The camelherds migrate as far as 1,000 km to the South, to Nigeria, to graze their flocks.

Two aspects of the herd’s work are looked upon: The technique, mainly the technique of herding, and the way of acting itself. Technique relates to a result, acting relates to man. Acting not only comprises knowledge and skills, energy and endurance, but also feelings of anxiety and pleasure, happiness, solitude and strain. The daily work of male and female herds does not take place at the house or the oasis, but rather in the wilderness and on foreign territory.