Cooperation in the Midst of Violence: Land Deals and Cattle Raids in Narok and Laikipia, Kenya
Mutisya Kioko, Eric
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What drives the formation of ties and networks in ethnically hybrid spaces despite the occurrence of conflict? We approach this question by examining the actors involved, the institutions affected, and the economic and environmental contexts surrounding such tendencies. This study explores socially thick arrangements between Maasai and Kikuyu in Narok and their role in the non-violent use of formerly contested lands. In Laikipia, we examine how young Samburu and Kikuyu cooperate in a dangerous yet economically beneficial network involving cattle-rustling ventures. We revisit the history of land settlement in Kenya's Rift Valley, particularly in the study areas of Narok and Laikipia, and show how access and settlement rights to land are negotiated peacefully, encouraging ethnic assimilation and cooperative social and economic relations. Based on this context and the exploration of our case studies, we argue that the formation of alliances in multi-ethnic settings tends to override other identities when mutual benefits drive such associations.