Temporal structure of conversation was studied in the Baka Pygmy and adjacent Bakwele (Bantu farmer) in southeastern Cameroon. Time sampling was used to obtain the data on speech overlap. When several persons gathered at a place and began chatting, the number of speeches was sampled at every 10 seconds. From the sampled data of the Baka, frequent speech overlap and long silence (sometimes continuing few minutes) were detected, which are minimized in “usual” turn-taking in the Western societies. This tendency is statistically significant compared with the conversation of the Bakwele. In the Baka conversation, speech overlap is not used strategically, i. e., it is not an “interruption” to obtain the turn from the current speaker. Speech overlap is considered to be a form of behavioral synchronization observed in other hunter-gatherer societies. Long silence of the Baka is not a failure in the turn-taking process, nor “meaningful” silence such as showing the termination of a conversation, marking boundary of sentences, or representing politeness. It is regarded as a mode of co-presence. The Baka can co-present without mutual continuous speech, because they live in a “high-context” society. The difference of the conversation style between the Baka and the Bakwele is recognized by the Baka themselves. The social separation between these two ethnic groups might partially be due to such a difference.
In the past debate on capitalist development in Kenya, the many writers regarded capitalist development in the advanced industrial countries as a model for development. They tended to discuss only the characteristics of the capitalist class in the major industrial sectors, neglecting the significance of the labour force in the agricultural sector. In this study, I attempt to supplement this debate with the following case study. Mumias Sugar Company (MSC), an agribusiness established in post-independent western Kenya, is based on the contract farming system and can be viewed as a means to integrate small farmers under capital. The following three points have been derived from an analysis of MSC's organizational structure, the relationship between the Kenyan state and foreign capital, and changes within Mumias society. 1) It is a relationship of inter-dependency between MSC and the state, not one of one-sided dependency, that has formed the establishment and the operation of the MSC. 2) The upper strata farmers in this rural society who invest in land as capital accumulation, can be considered as a small capitalist class. 3) The labour force in the middle and lower strata is made up of peasant workers, not self-sufficient peasants or a proletariat (who do not possess the means of production). In understanding the reality of economic development in post-independent Kenya, these factors can be recognized as being inseparable from capitalist development, rather than as proof of economic dependency. The example of an agribusiness based on the contract farming system shows the potential for capitalist development in rural areas showing the characteristics noted above.
The Ejagham are Bantoid cultivators who live in the Cross River region of southwestern Cameroon and southeastern Nigeria. They have many types of ritual medicine called njom, which is used for preventioning and curing diseases and other misfortunes caused by evil spirits, in particular by witchcraft. Obhasinjom is one of these njom, and its supernatural power is well known not only among the Ejagham, but also among other peoples of the Cross River region. Obhasinjom means “god of the ritual medicine”, and also denotes the mask which is used for oracles. Obhasinjom's supernatural power derives from this mask. The mask is made of the cotton tree (Ceiba pentandra), which itself is believed to be a strong medicinal tree. This mask is assigned certain features of crocodiles and great blue turacoes both of which are strong and smart. It should be renewed every 7 years; sacrifice should be done against it; and a human wife should be given to it. On oracle performance, the mask bearer put it on and off in front of the audience. It is not a secret who is in the mask. He is well known by all the villagers as the inborn shaman who is possessd by Obhasinjom. The use of supernatural power therefore, does not rely upon the anonymousness of the mask bearer. All these aspects suggest that this mask has ritual power in itself, which comprises a great difference from other types of mask in the Cross River region. Two items held by the mask bearer and his costume also convey rich symbolism and play important roles in the Obhasinjom ritual and its oracle performance. The Obhasinjom ritual is thought to have spread widely in Cross River region in the beginning of 20th century when the Ejagham were seriously troubled with witchcraft under the German colonial rule. From the styles of masked figure and its attendants as well as their performance, Obhasinjom seems to have originated from local hunting ritual. Moreover, searching for animals in hunting is easily associated with detecting the witch, that is believed to transform into animals.
Recent studies on hunter-gatherer economy are dissociated into two trends. Behavioral biology and micro-economics have been employed to elucidate the adaptation of a hunter-gatherer to given natural environments, using fitness value or utility. Meanwhile, economical anthropologists, so called substantivists who emphasize the social implication of economic activities, have accentuated the relevance of the economic behavior such as sharing with unique characteristics of hunter-gatherer society, especially ‘egalitarianism’. Here, the net-hunting activity of the Aka hunter-gatherers living in the tropical rain forest of northeastern Congo is described according to time sequence. The aim of this description is to better understand the experiential reality among participants of net-hunting. Two questions are set beforehand. One is how the individual participants are involved with others in the net-hunting activity. Another is how the Aka's view of nature is related to the activity. Consequently, it has become clear that net-hunting has some ritual aspects in association with ancestral spirits dwelling in the forest who control the cycle of the Aka and game animals between this world and the future life. The ancestral spirits stress collaboration and solidarity among domestic groups, the basic social unit of Aka daily life, and reinforce their social identification based on gender and generation through role-taking in the hunt and subsequent distribution of meat. Furthermore, when net-hunting is compared to ritual group dancing with regards to pleasure experienced and the effect of ideologically binding the participants, they are both found to be quite similar. It is individual pleasure that underpins ritual aspects of net-hunting.