Eugen Pissarskoi and Leiyo Singo on neglected components in dominant accounts of a good life through the lens of Maasai pastoralists



Lists of basic needs necessary for a decent human life have found their way into approaches to sustainable development such as the “Safe and Just Space for Humanity” framework. The “dominant” conceptions of a decent human life have been  criticised by social groups which find themselves at the margins of public debates such as the Degrowth or Post-colonial movements. According to the latter, the dominant conceptions neglect certain values which are necessary constituents of a decent human life: meaningful activities, convivial activities, and relationships of certain quality (love, respect, harmony, care) towards human and other-than-human beings. With this paper, we present results of interviews with male Maasai pastoralists in a village in Northern Tanzania in which we elicited what they consider as requirements for a good human life. According to our results, Maasai pastoralists disagree about the necessary constituents of a decent human life as well, replicating the controversy from the international debates between the proponents of the dominant approaches and their critics from Post-colonial and Degrowth movements.