14. Nature and society.
Diss. Univ. Mnnster, FRG; Verlag P. Lang GmbH, Abt. WB, Postf. 940225, DW 6000 Frankfurt/M. 90; ISBN 3-631-45235-7, 1993, 264 pp.; price DM 74,--
The Tallensi, an ethnic group of 60.000 people who are mainly farmers on a subsistence level, are considered as a paradigma for a stateless society, which organizes its social life on a highly decentralized basis
- a "tribe without rulers".
What impact did all these changes have on the political system of the Tallensi?
This was the main question the author had when he started a 32-months research stay among the Tallensi in 1986. During that time he was living in a local extended family, doing participant observation.
With this work the question has been answered how the Tallensi were able to keep up their political system and egalitarian social structure and to fit it into changing social situations. By a detailed description of the Tallensi-Festivals he works out the significance of "nature" (hunting, fishing, food) as a counterpart to "culture" (agriculture, village life, clan relations).
This work gives an interesting view "from inside" how an ethnic group has developed certain social techniques of keeping the social and economical equilibrium. The book offers an important contribution to the discussion wheather stateless societies are per se ecological societies which live "in harmony with nature and environment". One of the social effects is that egalitarian societies can only keep up their social system by religious and spiritual interactions which are based on a solidarical and equal cooperation of all the segments of the ethnic group.
This book is clearly written and well worth the attention of those interested in traditional societies which live in harmony with nature and environment. The book is highly recommended for scientific audiences and practicioners looking to extend their general awareness of this exciting area.
1053 92 - 2/137
Farming systems research and development
Review, Latin America, Peru, Caribbean, Haiti, sustainable development, theory and practice, key terms, fragile lands, poverty, policy, technology, institutions, interventions, watershed development, integrated approach, environment education, extension, conservation,
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