Covers all areas of Borneo where current and former hunter-gatherers are known to live: Malaysian Sarawak, Brunei, and the two northern provinces of Indonesian Kalimantan.
This book is the first ever to offer a comprehensive picture of the nomadic and formerly nomadic hunting-gathering groups of the Borneo tropical rain forest, totaling about 20,000 people. It presents a wealth of new research contributed by an international team of scholars (American, British, French, German, Indonesian, Malaysian, and Swedish).
Covering all those parts of the island where nomads, called Penan, Punan, or by various other names, are or were known to exist (Sarawak, Brunei, and Kalimantan), the book provides a comparative historical-ecological study of these groups, situated in the political-economic context of modernization (the monetary economy, formalized institutions, centralized power structures, contractual relationships, and extraction activities) and development policies. The impact of these policies is analyzed, with special regard to the natural environment, inhabited by these small-scale societies, and the use of its resources.
While not assuming any stiff theoretical orientation, the work does inform ongoing debates about changing forms of ethnicity, relations between minorities and the state, minorities' rights and survival, native discourse, the sustainability of tropical forest use, and the neo-romantic environmentalist myth of so-called wise traditional peoples.