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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Nature as Myth, Symbol and Action: Notes towards an Historical Understanding of Development and Conservation in Kenyan Maasailand
Authors:Knowles, Joan N.
Collett, D.P.
Periodical:Africa: Journal of the International African Institute
Geographic terms:Kenya
Great Britain
colonial policy
indigenous peoples
Peoples of Africa (Ethnic Groups)
Agriculture, Natural Resources and the Environment
Ethnic and Race Relations
History and Exploration
External link:https://www.jstor.org/stable/1159941
Abstract:This paper is concerned with the insights that a history of cultural logics can offer the study of the colonial encounter. This is illustrated by considering the colonial and postcolonial history of Maasailand, Kenya. Attention is paid to early European perceptions of the Maasai, the interaction between the Maasai and the British, and the Maasai response to the colonial and postcolonial administration's attempts to transform them. It is shown that in nearly a century of contact the mythological view of the Maasai has not appreciably changed. In addition, administrative action in independent Kenya still focuses on the same strategies as those employed by the colonial government. Once again 'ilmurran' (young unmarried men, who are regarded as warlike) have been banned, a policy that was first enacted by the British in 1921, and the administrators are still encouraging the Maasai to involve themselves in education and agriculture. The Maasai have consistently rejected the 'gifts' of colonialism, and for them the alienation of land for the creation of national parks is no different from the alienation of land for colonial settlement. Bibliogr., ref., sum. in French.