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  A high degree of spatial mobility or wandering as a basis for a particular way of life (Salzman, 1980). Nomadism implies no or very limited reliance upon sedentary cultivation. In general, nomadism is presumed to be synonymous with livestock rearing and the movements of herds (animal husbandry), especially in the semi-arid tropics and in montane regions (Johnson, 1969). But hunter-gatherers who typically have no domesticated livestock are also defined by their \'nomadic style\' (for example the San peoples of the Kalahari desert). Nomadism in both of these cases is distinguished from the very limited seasonal movements of animals associated with sedentary agriculture (see transhumance). Nomadism is often classified in terms of the degree of spatial mobility. So-called full or true nomads have no permanent dwellings and practise no agriculture, though they participate in exchange relations to acquire grain (e.g. the Wodaabe of the West African Sahel). Semi-nomads practise wet season agriculture but are usually mobile during the dry season (e.g. the Masai of East Africa) as they search for pasture and water with their herds (see pastoralism). (MW)

References Johnson, D. 1969: The nature of nomadism: a comparative study of pastoral migrations in Southeast Asia and Northern Africa. Chicago: University of Chicago, Department of Geography Research Paper #118. Salzman, P. 1980: Is nomadism a useful concept? Nomadic Peoples 6: 1-7.



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