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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Fashioned Forest Pasts, Occluded Histories? International Environmental Analysis in West African Locales
Authors:Leach, Melissa
Fairhead, James
Periodical:Development and Change
Geographic terms:Sierra Leone
Ivory Coast - Côte d'Ivoire
Agriculture, Natural Resources and the Environment
Development and Technology
Abstract:This paper considers how environmental problematics are produced and interpreted, using case material from West Africa's humid forest zone. Examining the experiences of several countries (Côte d'Ivoire: Moronou; Guinea: Ziama; Sierra Leone: Gola; and, particularly, Guinea: Kissidougou) over the long term, the paper identifies a deforestation discourse produced through national and international institutions. This represents forest and social history in particular ways that structure forest conservation but which obscure the experience and knowledge of resource users. Using fine-grained ethnography to explore how such discourse is experienced and interpreted in a particular locale, the paper uncovers problems with 'discourse' perspectives which produce analytical dichotomies which confront State and villager, and scientific and 'local' knowledges. The authors explore the day-to-day encounters between villagers and administrators, and the social and historical experiences which condition these. Instances where the deforestation discourse becomes juxtaposed with villagers' alternative ideas about landscape history prove relatively few, while the powerful material effects of the discourse tend to be interpreted locally within other frames. Bibliogr., sum.