Forests of Belonging examines the history and ongoing transformation of ethnic and social relationships among four distinct communitiesBangando, Baka, Bakwéle, and Mbomamin the Lobéké forest region of southeastern Cameroon. By slotting forest communities into ecological categories such as "hunters" and "gatherers," previous analyses of social relationships in tropical forests have resulted in binary frameworks that render real-life relationships invisible and that have perpetuated correspondingly misleading labels, such as "pygmy." Through rich descriptive detail resulting from field work among the Bangando, Stephanie Rupp illustrates the complexity of social ties among groups and individuals, and their connections with the natural world. She demonstrates that social and ethno-ecological relations in equatorial African forests are nuanced, contested, and shifting, and that the intricacy of these links must be considered in the design and implementation of aid policies and strategies for conservation and development.
About the Author
Stephanie Rupp is assistant professor of anthropology at Lehman College, City University of New York.
Table of Contents
Introduction: Forests of Belonging 3
1 Paradigms: The Forest and Its Peoples 19
2 Belonging: Ethnic Affiliations and Confluences 55
3 Spaces: Beyond Nature and Culture 93
4 Ambiguities: Interethnic Marriage and Descent 122
5 Tangles: Parallel Clans, Alliances, Rituals, and Collective Work 147
6 Identities: People in Changing Contexts 184
7 Contradictions: Identities, Opportunities, and Conflicts 214
Conclusion: Rethinking: Social Identities, Ethnic Affiliations, and Stereotypes 248
Glossary of Non-English Terms 278
What People are Saying About This
Rupp's compelling ethnography and forceful analysis imply an attack on the apparent selfevidence of notions of identity all over the world.
"Rupp's compelling ethnography and forceful analysis imply an attack on the apparent selfevidence of notions of identity all over the world."Peter Geschiere, University of Amsterdam