Global Warning. An ethnography of the encounter between global and local
239 Pages
English
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Global Warning. An ethnography of the encounter between global and local

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239 Pages
English

Description

Moving beyond existing approaches that largely deal with the biophysical consequences of climate change realities in Africa, this book explores an alternative perspective that traces climate change as a travelling idea. It focuses on how globally constructed discourses on climate change find their way to the local level in the Bamenda Grassfields of Cameroon, thereby seeking to understand how these discursive practices lead to social transformations, and to new configurations of power. In the translation process from the 'global' to the 'local' level a continuous modification and appropriation of the idea of climate change takes place that finally leads to a concrete implementation of climate change related projects and sensitization campaigns. Hence, it is argued that in this increasingly interconnected and mediated world people in Africa (and elsewhere in the world) do not solely adapt to a changing climate, but also adapt to a changing discourse about the climate. Travelling between traditional rulers and their palaces, to the world of NGOs, journalists and ordinary farmers this study brings the reader on a captivating journey, that reveals how climate change engages in a variety of ways with different lifeworlds, revitalizes local cosmologies, gives birth to a new development paradigm, and moreover how it evokes apocalyptic anxieties and trajectories of blame at the grassroots level.

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Published 26 April 2015
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EAN13 9789956762972
Language English
Document size 9 MB

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GLOBAL WARNINGAn ethnography of the encounter between global and local climatechange discourses in the Bamenda Grassfields, Cameroon
Sara de Wit
GLOBAL WARNINGAn ethnography of the encounter between global and local climate-change discourses in the Bamenda Grassfields, Cameroon
Langaa & African Studies Centre
GLOBAL WARNINGAn ethnography of the encounter between global and local climate-change discourses in the Bamenda Grassfields, CameroonSara de Wit African Studies Centre, Leiden
Langaa Research and Publishing Common Initiative Group PO Box 902 Mankon Bamenda North West Region Cameroon Phone +237 33 07 34 69 / 33 36 14 02 LangaaGrp@gmail.com www.africanbookscollective.com/publishers/langaa-rpcig
African Studies Centre P.O. Box 9555 2300 RB Leiden The Netherlands asc@asc.leidenuniv.nl http//:asc.leidenuniv.nl
Cover photo: A group of traditional rulers from the Grassfields organized a climate change conference, 2009 Photos: Sara de Wit, 2009. Unless stated otherwise.
Author has made all reasonable efforts to trace all rights holders to any copyrighted material used in this work. In cases where these efforts have not been successful the publisher welcomes communications from copyright holders, so that the appropriate acknowledgements can be made in future editions, and to settle other permission matters.
ISBN 9956-792-11-x
© Langaa & African Studies Centre, 2015
For my father, brother and sister Sharing in your love is a wonderful experience
Contents List of figures..................................................................vii List of photos..................................................................vii List of maps..................................................................viii Acknowledgement............................................................ix Acronyms........................................................................xi
1.
2.
3.
4.
INTRODUCTION............................................................................ 1
THEORETICAL AND METHODOLOGICAL CONSIDERATIONS.... 22 The scope of study: From Kyoto to the Bamenda Grassfields and back to Copenhagen.................................. 22 Social constructivism as an alternative ‘lens’ ....................40 The power of discourses, or discoursesaspower?.............58
TALKING CLIMATE CHANGE INTO EXISTENCETHE ROLE OFNGOS IN DISSEMINATING THEGREEN MESSAGE............. 66 Introduction.............................................................................. 66 The modern environmental era: The social construction of climate change in historical perspective........................ 76 ‘Thinking globally, acting locally’: Deconstructing Kyoto ................................................................................92 NGOs seen increasingly as authorities in building Green norms and settings global standards ................................. 98 Climate change mitigation and adaptation in Bamenda...105
TRANSLATING THE CLIMATE BACK AND FORTHTRADITIONAL RULERS IN THE FIGHT AGAINST CLIMATE HANGE.................................................................125 C
v
PART I
Introduction............................................................................ 125 A brief historical overview of the settlements of chiefdoms in the Grassfields.............................................. 128 The ritual, moral and legal patterns of power in the Chiefdoms ......................................................................135 The Fons in the colonial state...........................................138 Climate change and its discursive ‘compatibility’ with Grassfields cosmologies .................................................140
PART II
5.
6.
Climate change as a possible new framework to redefine local discourses and symbolic power .............................145 Cameroon traditional rulers against climate change ........146
BELIEVING IN CLIMATE CHANGEA GRASSROOTS PERSPECTIVE...........................................................160 Introduction: How access to discourses changes the Weather................................................................................. 160 ‘We are the climate’– climate trajectories as a societal Critique.................................................................................. 167 The power of indeterminate meaning...............................182 ‘We are not God oh!’ How a secular discourse fuses with the sacred ................................................................189 ‘Climate change kills, action now!’ Eschatological anxieties over the arrival of the Apocalypse ..................195
CONCLUDING REFLECTIONS...............................................205
References ...............................................................................212 Appendix: Average rainfall and temperature data...................219
vi
3.1 & 3.2 3.3 3.4
List of figures
3.5 3.6 3.7 3.8 3.9
4.1
3.10
List of photos
vii
1.1 & 1.2 1.3
1.4
Landslide at Up-station at the governor’s residence............. 70 Bamenda’s scenery from Up-station...................................72 This “earthrise” picture was taken by Apollo 8’s crew on 24 December 1968..........................................................92 Signboard with a ‘Green slogan’ hanging at the MINFOF..106 Signboard with a ‘Green slogan’ hanging at the MINFOF..110 Signboard with a ‘Green slogan’ hanging at the MINFOF..112 Signboard with a ‘Green slogan’ hanging at the MINFOF..115 Members of a CIG going ‘Green’ and fighting against climate change.............................................................123 Member of a female CIG on her common land growing organic cassava.............................................................124 Jujus dancing during the death celebration of the late Fon
The popular global warming discourse is generally accompanied with this type of visualization........................6 President Paul Biya, the only survivor of this “global war”?...............................................................................9 Landscape of the mountainous Grassfields during the rainy season............................................................................10 The following images were used to communicate the threats of climate change.................................................12 Initiators of CAMTRACC.................................................14 An ordinary discussion about climate change with farmers at Bawock market...........................................................17
1.5 & 1.6 1.7 1.8
1.1 1.2 3.1
CO2emissions and increases.................................................3 Estimated mean global temperatures......................................4 Current and future inter-institutional linkages on climate change in Cameroon........................................................109