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Living Between Juniper and PalmNature, Culture, and Power in the Himalayas$
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Ben Campbell

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780198078524

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198078524.001.0001

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Translating Sustainability

Translating Sustainability

(p.313) 9 Translating Sustainability
Living Between Juniper and Palm

Ben Campbell

Oxford University Press

Cultural barriers in translating the notion of sustainability lead beyond scientific ideas of an environment as a domain detachable from human interactions, which is culturally alien to Himalayan villagers affected by conservation. The cosmological mindset of ‘naturalism’ is contrasted with evidence for ‘animist’ kinds of human–environmental relationships in the world of the Tamang. Their movement between ecological zones of juniper and palm brings dialogue and diplomacy in line with the cultures of power of the valley (mandala cosmologies of ‘analogism’). Tamang encounter conservation within a historical relation of being outsiders to the political and cultural mainstream, but aspects of territory, livelihood, and cultural sovereignty make them comparable with other groups of upland ‘Zomia’ in Southeast Asia. At the margins of effective state control, conservation is more than a concern for biodiversity and sustainability must negotiate the many natures of animist, analogical, and naturalist modes of environmental relationship.

Keywords:   multi-naturalism, shamanic political ecology, Zomia, sovereignty, neoliberal sustainability, sky-earth-people

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