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Title: Interethnic Relations in Southeastern Cameroon: Challenging the "Hunter- Gatherer" – "Farmer" Dichotomy
Authors: RUPP, Stephanie
Keywords: Ethnicity
Issue Date: Nov-2003
Publisher: The Center for African Area Studies, Kyoto University
Journal title: African study monographs. Supplementary issue.
Volume: 28
Start page: 37
End page: 56
Abstract: By slotting forest communities into reductive categories such as "hunter-gatherer"
"farmer" and "pygmy"
"villager, " analyses of social relations in tropical forests are reduced to two dimensions based on contrasting subsistence strategies and polar relations of power. As a result of this flattened perspective of the social landscape, other ways of reckoning social relations as expressed by contemporary forest peoples may be rendered analytically invisible and ideologically irrelevant to outside observers and analysts. This paper examines the formation and transformation of social relationships among Bangando, Baka, Bakw´el´e, and Mbomam, four distinct communities that intermingle in the forests of southeastern Cameroon. Far from conforming to these simplified, paired classifications of social identity based on presumed economic strategies and political relationships, the diverse communities of southeastern Cameroon pursue numerous and flexible production techniques, engage in manifold and changing relationships, and identify self and other in multiple and shifting ways. This paper demonstrates that, rather than maintaining strict ethnic divisions according to subsistence production, Bangando, Baka, Bakw´el´e, and Mbomam individuals participate in interfamilial, interethnic, and interregional networks that are social, economic, ritual, and political in nature.
DOI: 10.14989/68427
Appears in Collections:28 (Recent Advances in Central African Hunter- Gatherer Research)

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