Kemiri, Aleurites moluccana, is an important useful plant in the Indonesian archipelago. It has been grown for both subsistence and commercial purposes, particularly in regions with a tropical monsoon climate, and has been important in sustaining the everyday life of people in Eastern Indonesia. It has been utilized for various purposes: the lipid-rich seeds provide material for illumination, cooking and pharmaceuticals, and its trunks provide timber. Most of the production is currently exported to Surabaya for local consumption, and part of it is exported abroad.
In addition to such economic uses, it is worth paying attention to kemiri’s role in the rehabilitation of forest areas in Eastern Indonesia. There were two epoch-making periods in relation to kemiri plantations, one in the colonial and the other in the New Order period. In South Sulawesi in the 1920s and 1930s, the Dutch forestry agency recommended kemiri planting to rehabilitate abandoned fields of shifting cultivation. This was the region's first encounter with government forest policy. Under the New Order regime, in accordance with policies favoring rapid economic development, “encroachment” on forest areas raised complicated issues. As local people, both natives and migrants, began to open forest areas for agricultural purposes, the government of South Sulawesi was forced to adjust the disignated boundaries of forest areas and also to launch a new policy for stabilizing the encroachment. Under Pola Sul-Sel (the South Sulawesi system), agricultural activities were legally recognized, even in the forest area, if combined with the plantation of useful trees such as kemiri.
As these cases show, kemiri can be considered to have left an important “footprint” from which we can learn about the process of political ecology in forest areas adjacent to agricultural lands in Eastern Indonesia.
In contemporary agriculture, farmers cultivate a changing balance of major and minor crops. The changing status of edible Job's tears, Coix lacryma-jobi subsp. ma-yuen, a relict minor crop that is becoming an important cash crop in Louang Phabang Province, Laos, provides an interesting example of the dynamics of agricultural change.
In mainland Southeast Asia, endemic varieties of edible Job's tears have traditionally been cultivated on a small scale for household consumption. Recently, however, farmers in parts of Louang Phabang Province have begun large-scale commercial farming of introduced varieties of edible Job's tears using modern cultivation techniques. The crop is probably exported to Japan, which has become dependent on imported edible Job's tears to supply its expanding health food market.
The case study casts some light on the differences between local and global systems of agriculture. In small-scale cultivation of edible Job's tears, there was a tight relationship between agriculture and everyday life, whereas in large-scale cultivation, producers are spatially separated from consumers. The localities engaged in this production are strongly influenced by the global health food market. Such changes in the agricultural system are influencing both the distribution and diversity of minor crops and the retention of related cultural knowledge and practices.
The goal of this paper is to examine the characteristics of African vegeculture centered on banana (Musa sp.) and ensete (Ensete ventricosum) agriculture in the broader perspectives of ethnobotany as person-plant relationships. In the first part of this paper, I attempt a selected review of the theories of origin, variation, and dispersal of banana varieties in Africa. I also discuss the origin and diversity of landrace in relation to the changes of agricultural systems in Africa brought about by the introduction of the banana from Asia. Secondly, I make an ethnobotanical comparison of banana and ensete in order to propose future agendas for the development of research on these two crops in Africa. Lastly, I discuss the essence of African vegeculture in terms of three characteristics: diversity, perenniality, and mass-of-harvest. In African vegeculture system exploiting banana and ensete, both plants are “perennial” monocots, local farmers maintain high level of “diversity” in landrace variation, and both crops give a great “mass of harvest” at once from one plant. I contend that these three common characteristics of African vegeculture may be closely related to, and form the basis of, the worldview of African farmers.
A survey of indigenous resources and knowledge in a rural area has been carried out in the northern Guinea savanna of Nigeria for eight years, as a prelude to development of sustainable management system for the local resources that can provide a vital energy for village life. The village surveyed was Yamrat, located in Bauchi State in the Republic of Nigeria. The villagers have much indigenous knowledge of resource management for maintaining food production and village life, among which knowledge of the management of soil fertility and weather forecasting seem to be particularly important.
It can be said that the people depend on the ecological environment and indigenous knowledge for their livelihood. However, various problems such as population increase and depletion of resources also exist because of changes in the social and ecological environment.
Should we conclude simply that local environment resources have touched the bottom? Is it not wise to try again to utilize such valuable resources more efficiently?
This paper focuses on the results of a research project that was carried out to develop an integrated system that privileges local resources in order to sustain agricultural production and village society.
Various indigenous farming systems have been practiced in miombo woodlands in southern Tanzania and northern Zambia. One of the main characteristics of these systems seems to be the fallowing areas that allow soil fertility to accumulate during periods of vegetation recovery. This paper attempts to categorize these farming systems by vegetation types and the methods used to decompose organic nutrients, and goes on to discuss the relationships among farming systems, vegetation, and rural societies.
The agricultural technologies observed in indigenous farming systems have ensured the survival of the vegetation in daily food production. Maintenance of the vegetation has been essential to the continuation of the farming systems, which have heavily depended on the biomass on the fallow land. While the vegetation suitable for this practice often differs, the vegetation within a particular society and culture has been retained. Thus, the agricultural technologies of rural societies have been mutually related to the sustainability of the indigenous farming systems.
Recently, however, population pressure, political changes and so on have changed rural societies, and indigenous farming systems have come to be regarded as simply an agricultural technology for food production. This isolation from social norms has caused a temporal imbalance between vegetation recovery and land use, and the vegetation has consequently degraded irreversibly. In current societies, with their greater focus on economy, it may be difficult to revive the relationship previously seen between the indigenous farming system and the society. It is, therefore, required to find an alternative way that the modern farming systems already introduced into rural areas may contribute to sustainable use of the forest.
This paper studies the effects of the changing age composition and education of the labor force on labor productivity growth in Singapore. A quality index was constructed to estimate the effects of different age and educational groups on the labor productivity growth. The results indicate that young workers with university degrees contribute significantly to the labor productivity growth of the economy. However, older workers between the ages of 40 and 49 have tended to increase their contribution to labor productivity growth over time. In particular, the labor productivity growth tended to peak between the ages of 30 and 39 in 1984-89, but between the ages of 40 and 44 in 1990-99. This result suggests that older workers have become more productive as the economy moved towards more skilled and knowledge-intensive production. However, the results also suggest that productivity of older workers is lower in sectors undergoing rapid structural change such as the manufacturing sector, as opposed to the less structurally vulnerable sector such as the service sectors. It is a vital question, therefore, how Singapore reallocated types of labor among industries to optimize economic growth.
The 1990s witnessed a dramatic decrease in the political power of the Thai military, which had been the most powerful force in Thai politics since the 1932 revolution. This essay considers the reasons for this shrinking of political power, and argues that the military owed its earlier political power to its potential to stage a successful coup. The long history of political intervention by the military shows that a successful coup needed the strong leadership of the army chief and the solidarity of army top brass to defeat or at least neutralize the various forces opposing the coup, and that such leadership and solidarity could be attained only through an annual reshuffle of army officers. Examination of the annual reshuffle in the last twenty years reveals that the May 1992 incident damaged the military more seriously than any other factors (the end of the Cold War, global and domestic democratization tides, and so on). Since 1992 special attention has been paid to avoid concentration of important posts into the hands of any particular class of the military academy. Through this policy, it became difficult for an army chief to consolidate his power sufficiently to stage a coup. This has resulted in the decrease in military power in politics, because the government can now reject demands from the armed forces.
This article seeks to reconsider the question of Sufism in order to attain a better understanding of it, as well as an understanding of the matters of saint worship and ṭarīqa. Although Sufism is generally translated as ‘Islamic mysticism,' such a translation reveals only a partial aspect of it.
After examining the questions as to what is Sufism and who are Sufis, I intend to point out that ‘Sufism' is not a substantial notion. I further declare that this notion was first invented by the orientalists as something alien to Islam.
Therefore, we can use this notion only as an analytical concept. Here I propose an analytical framework of Sufism in order to replace the former definition of Sufism as ‘Islamic mysticism.'
My analytical framework consists of three poles. The first is a mystical pole, and we must admit that Sufism does possess such an aspect. At the same time however we are aware that Sufism also has an ethical aspect which is the second pole, and the third is that of folk religion.
The merits of this tripolar framework are as follows.
1. This schema clearly shows that Sufism is an analytical concept.
2. It shows that ‘Islamic mysticism,' which has been regarded as equivalent to Sufism, is merely a part of it.
3. When we discuss Sufism, we should always be careful to specify which aspect(s) of Sufism we are talking about. Constant reference to this framework will make us conscious of the subtle differences during discussion.
The next step is to consider the frameworks of saint and ṭarīqa. This will lead to an understanding of the relationship that exists between the concepts of Sufism, saint and ṭarīqa.
In the central south Africa, several floodplains have played important roles in the formation of centralized societies in the past. The Zambezi river floodplain in western Zambia has been inhabited by the Lozi for about 300 years. On the floodplain, the Lozi people practice agriculture, cattle-raising, fishery, gathering, hunting and so forth. They have maintained a strong kingship system involving many ethnic groups.
The purpose of this paper is to examine and analyze the subsistence system on the floodplain. After describing the various activities in detail, the paper focuses on the following noticeable features. First, subsistence activities are adopted harmoniously to the ecology of the floodplain, which is composed of micro landform and annual floods. Second, the people have developed complex techniques that combine different subsistence activities. Third, while the kingdom organized engineering projects, such as constructing large-scale drainage cannals in the 19th century, the water management methods at the village level remained relatively small-scale techniques. At the same time, a symbiotic relationship has been formed between the populations inhabiting the floodplain and the surrounding woodlands. This study is also an attempt to elucidate the factors behind the formation of the Lozi kingdom.
How microscopic details should be collected and analyzed has often been discussed in area studies. Having studied the social interaction of farmers and hunter-gatherers in Africa, I believe the aphorism often quoted by German art historian Aby Warburg, “God dwells in detail” can be applied to area studies. Through the detailed description of social interactions, analysis can be broadened to many kinds of problems in the area. There are, however, certain conditions that make the study of “details” into area studies. One may be to collect data which are not only “true,” but also “interesting”; and another is to position them correctly in the context of current academic interest.
This article formulates the concept of ‘causal domination' by analyzing the idiomatic and conventional usages of the Lionese word “du’a” in central Flores, eastern Indonesia. The local people explain the word as a Lionese equivalent for the Indonesian word “pemilik” (owner). A close examination of the usages, however, reveals that it is seriously misleading to take this explanation literally. “Du’a” is a general term for a broad range of beings in the position of life-giving source/cause referred to as “pu’u” (trunk), whose cognate terms denote significant social categories in Austronesian societies [Fox 1980:14]. Therefore, the domination exercised by “du’a” is founded on causality and differs entirely from the modern concept of possession based on self-ownership [Locke 1974 (1690); Macpherson 1962]. This article argues that it is necessary to focus on the process of entanglement of the two concepts in order to comprehend diverse aspects of 20th century history not only in central Flores, but in insular Southeast Asia as a whole.
A central purpose of this research note is to examine the way in which recent studies of the Partition of India have begun to focus on people's experiences and perceptions of this event and, in particular, the massive violence that surrounded it. It shows how, in this process of reconsidering Partition, some historians have begun to criticise the existing history-writings based on the nationalist discourse, which analysed only political developments among parties and politicians.
To understand this new approach to Partition, it is necessary to look at the development of South Asian historiography from the 1980s, and more especially, important debates presented by the scholars of the so-called subaltern studies group on the ‘fragments’, ‘oppressed voice’ and ‘silence’ in history-writings. Some of these scholars, in order to discover where ‘silence’ lies, began to explore how memory of events was constructed and reconstructed by different groups of people, by interviewing them and comparing their narratives with each other and with other narratives in official documents and history books. This method is adopted by scholars such as Gyanendra Pandey and Urvashi Butalia in their works on Partition and violence.
Another source that has played an important role in drawing scholars' attention to popular perceptions of Partition and violence is a wide range of literary texts and films which depict this event. They have highlighted the hidden stories of violence and the ‘silence’ in official histories, and recently begun to attract increasing attention from historians. Here I introduce mainly Amitav Ghosh's novel The Shadow Lines (1988) as an example. Taking a hint from it, at the end of this paper I suggest a few important aspects of Partition that still need to be explored.
The economic crisis and structural adjustment in the early 1990s accelerated logging operations and agricultural expansion in Cameroon, which resulted in massive destruction of the tropical forest in the southern part of the country. Even where forest trees remained uncut, animal populations in the forest decreased considerably owing to the excessive hunting pressure imposed by commercial bushmeat trading. Such deterioration of the forest ecosystem posed global as well as local environmental problems, and attracted international attention, since when various projects have been promoted to save the forest ecosystems in Cameroon. While most of these projects are financially and organizationally supported by external sources, like similar projects before them, some are attempting new conservation measures. They emphasize active participation by local inhabitants, instead of applying a top-down bureaucratic method of conservation. These projects are, however, facing difficulties for several reasons.
Against this background, this essay first examines the problems involved in the Western protectionism and nature aesthetics that prevailed in the conservation schemes of the last century. It also demonstrates that the new types of conservation attempts in the area, such as “community forest” and “adaptive management”, have not yet produced satisfactory results, due largely to a lack of understanding of the multiplex relationships between people and nature in the forest ecosystem and of the complex local ethnic relationships in the area. The important thing is to hold a clear image in which people and forest co-exist in a desirable manner, in addition to securing people's right over the land or compensation for the loss of access to the forest resources. In order to understand the relationships of people and forest properly, and to design a desirable future image, three types of ecological investigation are proposed here: (1) cultural ecology, to show how people's life and culture depend on the forest and its resources, (2) historical ecology, to evaluate short- and long-term impacts of human activities on the forest environment, and (3) political ecology, to illustrate the relationship between the forest-related activities at the local level and the political and economic situations at the national and international levels.
Economic anthropological studies of East African pastoral societies sometimes maintain that livestock are not only consumable commodities but can also be regarded as capital and money. It is also asserted that pastoral mode of production bears obvious similarities to the modern capitalism. As East African pastoral societies undergo great and rapid changes influenced by the penetration of world capitalism, it has become important to investigate how traditional economic systems are articulated with the new system.
This paper has two objectives. First, based on my observations among the Turkana in northwestern Kenya, I critically examine the arguments of two scholars: Harold K. Schneider, who maintained that livestock perform similar functions to money; and Paul Spencer, who considered that the pastoral mode of production is a variant of capitalism. Secondly, I point out that the Turkana have two distinct types of livestock exchange. One is carried out among close friends or relatives, in which defrayments of one party are sometimes deferred for a long period of time. The other exchange is between unrelated persons, in which the transaction is concluded on the spot. In conclusion, I argue that livestock have a unique “individuality” in East African pastoral societies, and that, in order to investigate the commoditization of livestock, it is important to examine closely how the livestock individuality is modified and erased.
The Syrian Muslim Brotherhood, which is the most prominent Islamic movement in the Syrian Republic, has rarely been examined, whether in its organisational or its ideological dimensions. This can be attributed to the fact that the Brotherhood has been outlawed and militarily suppressed by the Ba‘thist regime since the early 1960s. In order to move towards a more comprehensive understanding of the movement, this research note will try to explore the ideological dimension of the Syrian Brotherhood, focusing on the inner logic of the movement during its formative period. This will be done by studying its most influential ideologue, Muṣṭafā al-Sibā‘ī (1915-64), during the formative period of the movement from the 1940s to 1960s. The aim of this research note, however, is not only to fill a blank in the study of the Syrian Brotherhood, but also to consider a methodological approach to it. Since most scholars of “Republican Syrian Studies” perceive the Syrian Brotherhood as an anti-establishment sub-actor to the regime, one can say that the analytical framework for the study of the movement as a subject in itself has not yet been established. The present task is thus to make case studies and derive from them some theoretical arguments.
Accordingly, this research note suggests that “Contemporary Syrian Studies,” when understood as Area Studies, can facilitate proper understanding of the Syrian Brotherhood under the leadership of al-Sibā‘ī. The Syrian Brotherhood thus should not be exclusively dealt within the context of the Syrian Republic, but within that of Syria (Greater Syria, al-shām) as an ‘area' still undergoing various attempts at state-building, which include “Syrianism” and Arab nationalism. This drive towards state-building is traced back to the time of the collapse of the Ottoman Empire and the interwar period when the present nation states (the “Lesser Syrias” such as Republican Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Palestine/Israel) emerged as a result of the geographical division of Syria by Britain and France. To observe al-Sibā‘ī and the Syrian Brotherhood through the prism of the dynamics and interrelations of these various ideologies surrounding the question of ‘how Syria ought to be' will help to overcome the established recognition of the dichotomy between the Syrian Brotherhood vs. the Ba‘th party or, by extension, Islam vs. secularism, and to draw a more sound picture of the movement.