This study, based on anthropological field research over a period of thirty-four years, focuses on pastoralism, politics, policies and development in northern Kenya and southern Ethiopia. The authors present a detailed ethnographic view of recent events of ethnic violence in Kenya and analyse how local patterns of conflict among pastoralists were influenced by both national and regional politics, which have encouraged an increased tendency of territorialized ethnicity. They propose ways of getting out of the ethnic trap and revitalizing a mobile livestock economy in a region where other forms of land use are impossible or much less effective. A companion volume to Islam and Ethnicity in Northern Kenya and Southern Ethiopia, it will be of particular interest to political anthropologists, students of nomadism, pastoral economy ecology, and globalization. Gunther Schlee is director of the Department of 'Integration and Conflict', Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology, Halle, Germany; Abdullahi Shongolo is an independent scholar based in Kenya.