This archive IDS Bulletin reflects on 50 years of research on pastoralism at IDS. Thirteen articles are introduced around six themes that have characterised IDS-linked research over this period. These are: pastoral livelihoods; institutions and common property resource management; climate change and ecological dynamics; food security, early warning, and livelihood vulnerability; pastoral marketing; and conflict and governance.
Across these themes, IDS research has challenged mainstream development thinking and practice, highlighting the importance of mobility and living with uncertainty. This introductory article concludes with some reflections on research gaps and new challenges, including: the effects of climate change; new forms of pastoral mobility and livelihood; increasing pattern of commoditisation and social differentiation; and changing conflict dynamics. Although massively changed over 50 years, and despite repeated proclamations of crisis and collapse, pastoralism remains, we argue, an important, resilient source of livelihood in marginal rangeland areas across the world, from which others can learn.