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The governance of nature as development and the erasure of the Pygmies of Cameroon
Central European University, Budapest. (Concurrences in Colonial and Postcolonial Studies)ORCID iD: 0000-0002-4505-1683
2013 (English)In: GeoJournal, ISSN 0343-2521, E-ISSN 1572-9893, Vol. 78, no 2, 353-371 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The Pygmies are among the remaining ‘savages’ in West and Central Africa. This paper demonstrates how the governance of nature through sedentarization, the creation of national parks as a mechanism of forestry conservation and the failure to endorse standard environmental safeguards in the creation of the Tchad-Cameroon pipeline project have led to the devastation of the livelihood of the indigenous pygmies. Simultaneously, by categorizing the Pygmies as a ‘primitive other’ despite the very dynamism of the concept of culture, the state of Cameroon has excluded them from the benefits of postmodernist development. I demonstrate that projects aimed at modernizing them, and achieving sustainability have instead accentuated their exclusion because of their presumed cultural isolation, led to their deep entrenchment in poverty and resulted in complete erasure. The failure of these projects is due to the clash between global and local perspectives and interests over the Western protectionism and nature aesthetics that underpin conservation and development schemes, and the government’s failure to ensure that developers fulfill their obligations to affected communities, as well as the non-recognition of the multiplex relationships between hunter-gatherers and farmers that is based on cultural, historical and political ecology. Against this backdrop, development has thus, become a process of erasure in which the livelihood of the Pygmies has been balkanized and their cultural existence and identity, negated.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Springer, 2013. Vol. 78, no 2, 353-371 p.
Keyword [en]
Pygmies, Conservation, Development, Cameroon, Cultural erasure
National Category
Social and Economic Geography
Research subject
Social Sciences, Peace and Development Studies; Natural Science, Environmental Science; Environmental Science, Natural Resources Management; Social Sciences, Human Geography
URN: urn:nbn:se:lnu:diva-38512DOI: 10.1007/s10708-011-9441-7OAI: diva2:768771
Available from: 2014-12-04 Created: 2014-12-04 Last updated: 2015-02-04Bibliographically approved

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Pemunta, Ngambouk Vitalis
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