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The relationships between humans and their natural surroundings is paradoxical. They impose knowledge and action on the world around them, yet at the same time subscribe to myths and beliefs which portray them and their natural suroundings as inseparable, with neither more powerful than the other. This paradox is explored in the essays in Bush Base: Forest Farm , which uses an anthropological perpective to direct new light on development and environmental studies. The contributors, all anthropologists with practical experience of development programmes, present case studies drawn from Africa and Asia, and reflect upon their theoretical implications. They reject the traditional sharp dichotomies of human settlement and external natural environment - farm or camp on the one hand, and forest or bush on the other - and suggest instead that the people, their indigenous knowledge and their fores or bush exist within each other. They argue that although the concept of sustainable development takes greater cognisance of the environment there is still a need to place at the centre an appreciation of people's cosmologies and cultural understandings. Combining practical experience with theoretical rigour, the book looks critically at a number of key approaches to third world development. It will be essential reading for students, teachers and policy makers in anthropology, development studies and environmental studies.
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