Staying Together

Overview

This study looks at three dimensions of the relationship between Maasai and wildlife: attitudes towards wildlife; cultural models of human-wildlife relationships; the aesthetic value of wildlife and its relation to support for wildlife conservation. First, I found that attitudes varied with land tenure, formal education, religion and gender. I used a regression analysis to identify predictors of positive attitudes towards wildlife. Being a Christian is the strongest predictor, followed by being male and residing ...
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Overview

This study looks at three dimensions of the relationship between Maasai and wildlife: attitudes towards wildlife; cultural models of human-wildlife relationships; the aesthetic value of wildlife and its relation to support for wildlife conservation. First, I found that attitudes varied with land tenure, formal education, religion and gender. I used a regression analysis to identify predictors of positive attitudes towards wildlife. Being a Christian is the strongest predictor, followed by being male and residing on communal land. Second, I followed a cognitive anthropology approach to analyze how Maasai relate to wildlife. "Cultural models" are implicit, shared cognitive representation of a conceptual domain that mediate our understanding of the world and are differentially distributed, socially transmitted and correlated with behavior. I investigated content and distribution of Maasai models of their relationship with wildlife. With discourse analysis, I identified two contrasting models of human-wildlife relationships. In the "traditional" model, wildlife are seen as different from cows in everything but as having the right to be on the land since God meant for humans, cows and wildlife to "stay together". In contrast, in the "modern" model, wild animals are useful and income-generating like cows, but people wish to be separated from them. I used cultural consensus analysis to determine the distribution of agreement with each model. It shows that there is one consensual model that is close to the "modern" model. This study shows a shift towards models of human-wildlife relationships that are informed by western culture, the market economy and conservation. The consensual model contrasts with the vision that conservationists have for the ecosystem. Investigating stakeholders' cultural models is a step towards addressing such conflicts. Lastly, I examine the role of aesthetic value in human-wildlife relationships. I show that Maasai appreciate visual beauty in wild animals and enjoy the sight of wild animals. Then, I determine that there is an association between how Maasai aesthetically value species, preferences thereof and support for their conservation. The community-based conservation approach emphasizes the economic value of wildlife to local communities. This study suggests that these strategies would benefit from considering non-economic dimensions of human-wildlife relationships.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781243682291
  • Publisher: BiblioLabsII
  • Publication date: 9/7/2011
  • Pages: 654
  • Product dimensions: 7.44 (w) x 9.69 (h) x 1.31 (d)

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