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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Perception of Natural Hazards: The Case for a Symmetrical Anthropology
Author:Yenshu Vubo, Emmanuel
Periodical:African Anthropologist (ISSN 1024-0969)
Geographic term:Cameroon
volcanic eruptions
Peoples of Africa (Ethnic Groups)
Anthropology and Archaeology
Religion and Witchcraft
Education and Oral Traditions
External link:https://www.ajol.info/index.php/aa/article/view/23092/29906
Abstract:The eruption of Mount Cameroon in March-April 1999 was not only a physical event. From an anthropological perspective, the most interesting aspect was the way the Cameroonian population perceived the eruption since this conditioned their reactions. This paper explores the social categories which were at play in popular reaction to the mountain's eruption. A basic question concerns the value of indigenous categories of perception in situations of catastrophic physical occurrences. The study examines the local interpretations that were given to the eruption and looks at past or contemporary perceptions of other natural hazards included in oral traditions and reflected in local practices, in particular the deluge story of the Kedjom, situated several centuries ago in the vicinity of Lake Oku. The author's holistic case for a cognitive anthropological approach argues for a symmetrical anthropology, claiming a unity of human experience. The social categories of discourse reflect political, cultural and physical/natural dimensions. In the local person's perception of natural phenomena, nature and culture/society become a single existential experience. Bibliogr., notes, sum.