Conservation-Induced Resettlement

The Case of the Baka of Southeast Cameroon—A Variation on the Habitual Mobility–Immobility Nexus

in Volume 6 (2016): Issue 2 (Jun 2016)
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This article demonstrates how conservation-induced immobilization affects the movement of knowledge and practices. I employ the case study of the Baka of East Cameroon to show how spatial immobility, or forced anthropostasis, among the Baka influences the flow of some kinds of knowledge and practices. This study also offers a critique of the view that, when hunter-gatherers settle in towns or permanent villages, their access to new knowledge and practices will be improved, thereby making their lives better. Rather, the loss of local medical knowledge, increased alcohol abuse, and an increasing destabilization of the ecological environment are the main detrimental consequences of new forms of knowledge that Baka are acquiring in villages as a result of contacts with the state, absorption into a capitalist society, and the influence of western-based nongovernmental organizations.