Gender Relations in Forest Societies in Asia : Patriarchy at Odds

Edited by Govind Kelkar, Dev Nathan, Pierre Walter, Sage, 2003, 325 p, tables, figs, ISBN : 8178292513, $47.00 (Includes free airmail shipping)

Gender Relations in Forest Societies in Asia : Patriarchy at Odds/edited by Govind Kelkar, Dev Nathan, Pierre Walter

Contents: Foreword. Introduction: forest societies in Asia: gender relations and change/Govind Kelkar and Dev Nathan. I. History and myth: 1. Gender roles in history: women as hunters/K.S. Singh. 2. The fireplace: gender and culture among Yunnan nationalities/Yang Fuquan. 3. Shu: Naxi nature Goddess Archetype/Xi Yuhua. 4. Appropriation of women's indigenous knowledge: the case of the Matrilineal Lua in Northern Thailand/Cholthira Satyawadhana. 5. Gender relations and witches among the indigenous communities of Jharkhand, India/Samar Bosu Mullick. II. Forest management: 6. Forest management in Mosuo matrilineal society, Yunnan, China/He Zhonghua. 7. Naxi women: protection and management of forests in Lijiang, China/Yang Fuquan and Xi Yuhua. 8. Bobolizan, forests and gender relations in Sabah, Malaysia/Paul Porodong. 9. Khasi women and matriliny: transformations in gender relations/Tiplut Nongbri. 10. Women and forest: a study of the Warlis of Western India/Indra Munshi. 11. Empowerment and disempowerment of forest women in Uttarakhand, India/Madhu Sarin. Index.

"Of the numerous available studies on forest management in Asia, only a few mention the role of women or pay attention to gender relations. Even projects are largely designed in terms of households or communities where men are the decision-makers and the owners or managers of forests. This important volume views gender relations as a crucial factor in the management of land and forests, and maintains that the continuing invisibility of women in these areas only compounds poverty, shortages, and the increased workloads of forest-based women.

Based on fieldwork conducted in several forest societies in China, Thailand, India and Malaysia, the contributors explore the changes in gender relations within indigenous communities, from matrilineal and/or gender egalitarian systems to ones where male domination is the norm. They assess changes in gender relations in forest-based societies in four situations:

Where there has been an imposition of colonial and state rule over forest communities.
Where historical and contemporary revolts of forest dwellers have taken place to reestablish community control over forests.
Where states have responded to these autonomy movements by resorting to devolution.
Where women's inclusion in local forest management is increasingly becoming a policy norm.

The book addresses the following key questions:

How do gender relations within and outside the household affect the use and management of forests?
What is the extent of women's centrality in the provision of livelihood?
What can we learn about gender relations from forest-dwelling societies characterized by the cultural valuation of women's economic, political, and ritual roles, and the absence of institutionalized male control?
Does the structure of gender relations within the household and community change as members respond to the broad religio-cultural, social, and economic restructuring of indigenous societies?

Using the voices of indigenous people to describe and explain the changes currently sweeping through their economy and society, this book offers students, researchers, decision-makers, and policymakers in gender/women's studies, environmental sociology, natural resource management, and conservation invaluable insights into the lives of forest dwellers in Asia."   

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