Grado de Antropologia del Estado Español

miércoles, abril 11, 2007

"Institutional logics and forest managements: the conflict pitting Bulu communities against the rubber plantation HEVECAM in Cameroon - is it an 'envi

Laboratorio de Etno-Ecologia
A cargo de Julien-François Gerber

Martes 17 de Abril 2007, 12h 30 en la Sala de Reunions
ICTA, Facultad de Ciencias, UAB (Barcelona)

Key words : plantation, property, possession, conflict, Cameroon

Summary: In 1975 the Kribi region (Southern Cameroon) became host of the rubber plantation HEVECAM, the third largest employer in Cameroon. The establishment of the plantation has been preceded by the expropriation of customary land and by the destruction of the rainforest used by local populations (among the most biodiverse of the Congo basin). As a result, conflicts - mostly latent - pitting neighbouring Bulu and Bagyeli ("Pygmy") communities against the plantation have occurred, especially during the last few years. In this context, J.-F. Gerber tries to explore a new way of looking at such socio-ecological conflicts by arguing that they reflect the struggle between two distinct institutional logics with different impacts on the environment, i.e., the logic of property versus the one of possession (G. Heinsohn & O. Steiger). Very roughly, the logic of possession corresponds to a multi-functional management of forests by "domestic communities" (C. Meillassoux), while the logic of property matches with the commercial monocultural model, the highest stage of the transformation of an ecosystem due to uses derived of private property. It is argued that the conflict between the logic of possession and the logic of property is at the heart of many cases of "environmentalisms of the poor" that arise in reaction to "development" (J. Martínez-Alier). The distinction between possession and property may also strengthen the link between ecological economics (often studying property-based societies) and ecological anthropology (often studying possession-based societies) and contribute to the search for sustainable alternatives.

Julien-François Gerber is graduated in biology from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zürich and holds a master from the Graduate Institute of Development Studies ( University of Geneva). He is presently carrying out his doctoral studies at ICTA on conflicts over industrial tree plantations in the South.