Nomads of the Borneo Rainforest: The Economics, Politics,And Ideology of Settling Down

Synopsis

"The Punan societies of Borneo, traditionally nomadic rainforest hunters and gatherers, have undergone a transformation over the past centuries. As downriver farming peoples expanded upstream and their cultures and technologies diffused, the Punan gradually abandoned their nomadic existence for a more sedentary life of trade-related activities and subsistence agriculture. But the culture that has emerged from these changes is still based on the enduring ideological premises of nomadism. This study, historical in perspective, examines the many factors - ecological, economic, commercial, political, social, cultural, and ideological - that have played a part in this continuing transformation. Bernard Sellato spent much of the past twenty years in the center of Borneo living with more than a dozen nomadic or formerly nomadic groups. From that wealth of experience emerged this major ethnographic work focusing on two groups, the Bukat and the Kereho Busang. Sellato reconstructs their history largely from oral tradition, demonstrating its value in understanding the political, social, and economic history of societies without a written language. The text is enhanced by photographs, charts, and detailed maps that allow the reader to follow the progress of the Punan migrations. Originally published in French as Nomades et Sedentarisation a Borneo, the work was awarded the Jeanne Cuisinier prize for the best French book on Southeast Asia in the social sciences and humanities. The English translation, by Stephanie Morgan, contains a foreword by Georges Condominas." Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved

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