During my field study in Songhai society, locals said the land was not owned by the individuals who appeared to own it. However, the owners would not have faced any real threat even if those who claimed ownership had filed a lawsuit. Nonetheless, whenever I asked, “Who owns this land?” the locals made great efforts to convince me that someone else did. If the owners had been legitimate, the locals would have appeared to be overreacting. Some also implicitly or explicitly refused to answer my questions. If anthropology has criticized modern ownership as an indivisible form based on “exclusiveness,” anthropologists should not “exclude” multiple voices and silences generated by those who cannot ask, “Who owns this land?” or cannot respond clearly, “It is mine.” In this paper, I examine Songhai society’s agrarian regime by focusing on the current polyphonic situation and clarifying the sense of indebtedness that induces affective reactions and involves people in implicit conflicts.
The 3rd JASCA International Symposium
The 3rd JASCA International Symposium The Internationalization of Japanese Cultural Anthropology and the Attempt to Strengthen the Overseas Dissemination of Information