Pastoral societies represent those that base their livelihood on herding domestic livestock and a predominantly nomad lifestyle. The theoretical importance of pastoral society characteristics lies in their exhibition of non-progressive evolution. They have played an important role during the agrarian era because of the impact on ecological and evolutionary processes.


Pastoral society is not attributed to a specific form of social organization as it may range from one group to another. Such societies are predominantly organized in tribes that have households, including large families as a basic unit for organizing labor and expenses. Genealogy represents a root for property rights within the pastoral society, with their mobility allowing groups to leave their sites of inhabitation and move to new locations in search of resources. It is also important to note that the breeding and herding of domestic animals is the key form or production in a pastoral society.

Thus, pastoral society definition considers a worldview that certain groups of people hold in order to stay prosperous. With the focus placed on animals, pastoral societies herd horses, camels, sheep, goats, cattle, and others that can provide the livelihood of people. Pastoralists have close connections with their environments because of their proximity to nature and animals. Due to such close links with nature, pastoral society sociology has had a lasting influence on their environment. The forces of grazing and anthropogenic fire have long been used for revitalizing the land for herding as well as re-growing forests. In many parts of the world, the collective influence of controlled fires and livestock browsing has transformed lands geographically.