Berghahn Books turns 25! Get 25% off all books!
Berghahn Books Logo

berghahn New York · Oxford

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Youtube
The Gaddi Beyond Pastoralism: Making Place in the Indian Himalayas

View Table of Contents

Email Newsletters

Sign up for our email newsletters to get customized updates on new Berghahn publications.

Click here to select your preferences

The Gaddi Beyond Pastoralism

Making Place in the Indian Himalayas

Anja Wagner

25th Anniversary Sale, 25% off all books! Add coupon code BB25

214 pages, 13 ills, 6 tables, 2 maps, bibliog., index

ISBN  978-0-85745-929-9 25% OFF! $120.00/£85.00 $90.00/£63.75 Hb Published (June 2013)

eISBN 978-0-85745-930-5 eBook

Hb View cartYour country: United States - Click here to remove geolocation   Buy the eBook from these vendors Request a Review or Examination Copy (in Digital Format) Recommend to your Library Available in GOBI®


“This book is an excellent read for those wishing to acquaint themselves with how human–environment relationships are constructed on the ground in the non- Western world. It offers an analytical foundation to probe practical activities and sensory perceptions incisively and empirically.” · Anthropological Forum

“Accompanied by Latour, Ingold and Descola, Wagner takes the reader on a fascinating journey through the social and religious landscapes as seen by the Gaddi people of Himachal Pradesh. Linking kinship to photography, Shiva worship to para-gliding, music videos to pilgrimage, Wagner departs from clichés and stereotypes to reveal a picture of contemporary Gaddi life that moves beyond their customary occupation as nomadic herders of sheep and goats.” · Richard Axelby, SOAS, London University


The Gaddi of North India are agro-pastoralists who rear sheep and goats following a seasonal migration around the first Himalayan range. While studies on pastoralists have focused either on the pastoralists’ adaptation to their physical environment or treated the environment from a symbolic perspective, this book offers a new, holistic perspective that analyzes the ways in which people “make” place. Based on extensive fieldwork, this book not only describes a contemporary understanding of the Gaddi’s engagement with the environment but also analyzes religious practices and performances of social relations, as well as media practices and notions of aesthetics. Thereby, the landscape in which the Gaddi live is understood as a network of places that is constantly being built and rebuilt through these local practices. The book contributes to the growing interest in approaches of practice within environmental anthropology.

Anja Wagner is Lecturer in Social Anthropology at the University of Münster. She received her doctoral degree in anthropology from the University of Heidelberg, and her studies have been supported by a scholarship from the German National Academic Foundation. She is the vice-spokesperson of the Himalayan studies group of the German Anthropological Association.

Subject: Environmental Studies General Anthropology
Area: Asia


Note on transliteration and spelling


Chapter 1. The study of environment reconsidered

  • Rethinking nature and society – toward an anthropology of environment
  • Between adaptation and ideology: Himalayan pastoralism in the literature

Chapter 2. The Gaddi in images

  • Popular imagery
  • Ethnographic representations
  • Evaluation of popular representations

Chapter 3. A sheep for Shiva

  • Living like Śiv-ji - Shiva and Gaddi identity
  • A sheep for Shiva – the nuālā ritual
  • Identity and performative creation of community

Chapter 4. Doing kinship, doing place

  • Seasonal migration and ancestral villages
  • Belonging to multiple places
  • Ancestral villages and family deities
  • Kinship and the inside space
  • How children do kinship and plac
  • Kinship, place and habitus
  • Extending networks, accessing new territory
  • The landscape of the Dhauladhar – from metaphor to practice
  • Excursus: Walking

Chapter 5. Visiting the deities, enacting the mountains

  • "Gaddi deities"
  • "To go with a goat" – jāgrāand jātar
  • Gūne Mātā and Bannī Mātā
  • Enacting environment through movements
  • High altitude lakes, nāg deities and the practice of nhauṇ
  • Power of place – performing altitude

Chapter 6. Environment and the body – understanding "water change"

  • The phenomenon of "water change"
  • On the connection between person and place in India
  • Ethnographic findings: The concept of ādat
  • Getting attuned to place
  • Water as a vehicle

Chapter 7. Cool water, short green grass and fir trees – the aesthetics of environment

  • The aesthetics of environment
  • "Good" places – the mountains revisited
  • Environmental aesthetics in photographic motifs
  • What is in a picture? Photography as socially defined practice
  • Gaddi photography collections
  • On the meaning of short green grass and fir trees

Conclusion: Doing place


Back to Top