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Goldstein, Melvyn C.

Grant Type
Post-Ph.D. Research Grant
Insitutional Affiliation
Case Western Reserve U.
Completed Grant
Approve Date
Project Title
Goldstein, Dr. Melvyn C., Case Western Reserve U., Cleveland, OH - To aid research on 'Nomadic Society in Tibet: A Study of Twenty Years of Change and Adaptation in Pala'

DR. MELVYN C. GOLDSTEIN, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio, was awarded a grant in May 2005 to aid research on 'Nomadic Society in Tibet: A Study of Twenty Years of Change and Adaptation in Pala.' The project set out to address the impact of major economic and social changes on nomadic society and pastoral subsistence on the Tibetan Plateau. The study was conducted in July and August 2005, in Pala, a Tibetan nomadic pastoral group located about 200 miles west of Lhasa on the Tibetan Plateau at altitudes between 15,500 and 17,500 feet. Using a diachronic, case study, research design, the project built on previous research in Pala to investigate how families in a nomadic pastoral community have adapted to the changes that have occurred over the past 20 years with regard to traditional nomadic culture, social organization, economics and pastoral management. Since the project collected data equivalent to that collected during previous studies, we were able to compare the same villages, households and individuals diachronically. The study found that the nomads have adopted new technical innovations such as motorcycles, trucks and tractors in their management system and have experienced a substantial improvement in their standard of living due to their integration into national and international markets. It also found that despite strong government pressure to privatize pastures on a household basis, the nomads successfully resisted this initiative and continued to herd more traditionally in small groups of 5-15 households sharing a common pasture. In sum, despite many important changes and adaptations, the traditional social organization and culture of the nomads was on the whole still intact.