Changing Pathways

Changing Pathways : Forest Degradation and the Batek of Pahang, Malaysia

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The Batek are hunter-gatherers who live in the lowland tropical forests of northeastern Peninsular Malaysia. Over the past few decades, as more and more of their forest home is degraded, they are developing an acute sensitivity to what this means, for them and for the broader world. In fact, they would like the world to know about their worries and their critiques of the causes of degradation. Changing Pathways was inspired by that need. Beyond a straightforward recounting of Batek environmental concerns, this book examines the cosmological basis for those concerns, the changing focus of the cosmology, the stories and histories through which the Batek express their place in the world, and suggests how environmental degradation might affect their knowledge, perception, and politics. Changing Pathways is an invaluable resource not only for environmental anthropologists and hunter-gatherer specialists but applied resource managers around the more

Product details

  • Hardback | 256 pages
  • 370.8 x 546.1 x 20.3mm | 272.16g
  • Lexington Books
  • Lanham, MD, United States
  • English
  • Illustrations, maps
  • 0739106503
  • 9780739106501

Review quote

Batek foragers of central west Malaysia have an important message for the rest of the world, one which other west Malaysian indigenes also voice: if world-conquering globalized developmentalism continues to destroy the forest, it is not only their world which will go down into hot death, but ours as well, the world of our common humanity. Lye Tuck-Po delivers this message to nonBatek as her friend Tebu told it to her; and gives the ethnographic context that allows us to understand it. A meticulous, engaging, and disturbing work. -- Robert Knox Dentan, professor emeritus, SUNY Buffalo; author of Overwhelming Terror: Love, Fear, Peace, and Violence among the Semai of Malaysia The Batek of Pahang charged Lye Tuck-Po with communicating to the wider world their belief that their land is threatened and their sense of their own failure in communicating this fact to the Malaysian state. Tuck-Po has eloquently discharged this commission, but she has also done far more. She has given us what she calls an 'ethnography of a landscape,' which falls within a long-established academic tradition of ethno-ecology but is given added nuance and power through use of a more interpretive, discursive, experiential approach. Tuck-Po offers her readers a local, 'inside' view of deforestation, environmental degradation, and feeling of cultural loss that is perhaps without equal in the literature today. -- Michael R. Dove, Yale University This gracefully written, scholarly book deserves a wide readership. Lye's sensitive, thoughtful analysis of one small society has implications for anyone concerned about human disregard for the environment or for peaceful human relationships...It is a wonderful work. -- Bruce Bonta As one of the few remaining hunting and gathering peoples in Southeast Asia, the Batek of Malaysia possess a unique and precious body of knowledge of the tropical rain forest. This knowledge is embedded in a worldview and philosophy of life that arguably contains a prescription for sustainable use of tropical forests. In recent years the Batek have become alarmed by the logging and other government-supported programs that threaten to destroy the forest and, in their view, the world as a whole. Concerned Batek have asked anthropologist Lye Tuck-Po to convey their fears and views to the outside world as a warning of this impending disaster. In this well-written book, Dr. Lye draws on her vast knowledge of tropical forest ecology and Batek culture to delineate a remarkable worldview that challenges many of the assumptions of development-obsessed planners and environmentalists alike. -- Kirk M. Endicott, Dartmouth Collegeshow more

About Lye Tuck-Po

Lye Tuck-Po is Quillian Visiting International Professor at Randolph-Macon Woman's more

Table of contents

1 Introduction 2 Communicating Degradation 3 The World of the Forest 4 In the Beginning 5 A Sense of Place 6 Gathering in the Forest 7 To See, To Hear, To Walk, and To Know 8 Changing Pathwaysshow more