La subsistance des Pygmées Bakoya à l'épreuve de l'agriculture: dynamique des savoirs ethnobotaniques et des pratiques (Département de la Zadié, Ogooué-Ivindo, Gabon)

Abstract : Originally semi-nomadic hunter-gatherers, Bakoya Pygmies now live in villages along the road together with non-pygmy ethnic groups (Mwesa, Mahongwe, Kota, Kwele and Bongom). This atypical pygmy group because sedentarized relatively since a long time and now practicing agriculture comparable to non-pygmy farmers from whom they learned to cultivate, offers an interesting framework for studying the dynamics of traditional ecological knowledge. The subject of my thesis is to study the effects of changing livelihood of Bakoya had on the ethnobotanical knowledge corpus, focusing on the plants used in a traditional activity, gathering, and on the food crop, cassava. To do this purpose, I conducted a comparative and synchronic study among Bakoya from Imbong and Ekata, two contrasted villages in terms of distance to the town and showing also socio-economic differences. I analyzed how the ethnobotanical knowledges vary according to age and sex among the Bakoya of the two villages. The same research protocol has been established with their non-pygmy neighbours, thus allowing to compare them with the Bakoya and to see if both of them differ. The methodology used is a combination of quantitative and qualitative methodologies. First, I conducted an ethnography to describe the social groups involved, their social organization and their production system. It helped to highlight social and economic changes of this group: (i) the important place of agriculture in the koya production system fot subsistence and for sale, (ii) the abandonment of traditional collective activities, in particular hunting, and (iii) changes in the nature of relations between Bakoya and non-Pygmies, Bakoya are now, in some cases, less dependent on non-Pygmies. On the other hand, I used quantitative methodologies that have helped to highlight how ethnobotanical knowledge related to subsistence activities are distributed and transmitted. Among the results obtained, it appears that today Bakoya and non-Pygmies share the same agricultural practices and the same knowledge about cassava. On the other hand, there are differentiated knowledge related to gathered plants, Bakoya are generally more knowledgeable than non-Pygmies, with most notable distinctions regarding traditional medicine and trees used for the construction or manufacture of utilitarian objects. Moreover, men and women, although they have specific knowledge related to their practices that reflect the sexual division of labour, are not necessarily devoid of knowledge related to the tasks of the opposite sex. Despite the schooling, generally children have important knowledge about gathered plants, but also cassava. Moreover, the change in livelihood had also consequences in the Bakoya's value system. From now on, after a relatively old settlement, and a long cohabitation with non-Pygmies, their priorities are more oriented toward agriculture. Perceptions related to forest are being reshaped by operating a dichotomy between the world of the village and the forest.
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Contributor : Beatriz Soengas <>
Submitted on : Monday, May 3, 2010 - 6:14:56 PM
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Beatriz Soengas. La subsistance des Pygmées Bakoya à l'épreuve de l'agriculture: dynamique des savoirs ethnobotaniques et des pratiques (Département de la Zadié, Ogooué-Ivindo, Gabon). Sciences de l'Homme et Société. Museum national d'histoire naturelle - MNHN PARIS, 2010. Français. ⟨tel-00480270⟩

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