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Title:Global warming and global war: Tanzanian farmers' discourse on climate and political disorder
Author:Sheridan, Michael J.ISNI
Periodical:Journal of Eastern African Studies (ISSN 1753-1063)
Geographic term:Tanzania
climate change
External link:https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/17531055.2012.669572
Abstract:Some farmers in Tanzania say that 'the rain is different now' and that postcolonial leaders and development agency experts cannot'bring rain' the way that colonial chiefs once did. Government officers, expatriate administrators, and Pare farmers agree, however, that average annual rainfall has declined dramatically in recent decades - despite rainfall records that show no unambiguous trend. The impression that rainfall has declined is a consequence of a particular cultural interpretation of ecology. This ecocosmology links an orderly environment with orderly relationships among people, and especially orderly claims to resources. Given this linkage between politics and rainfall, the local narrative of declining rainfall over the twentieth century is a metaphor for changing terms of resource entitlement and the ambiguities of power, morality, and social relationships in the postcolonial State and a description of a geophysical process. Understanding this process requires a closer look at the historical course of social change, the cultural roots of environmental narratives, and the political relationships between powerful institutions (such as governments and development agencies) and the rural populations on the periphery of the global economic system. This article therefore draws on recent work on the intersections of culture and power to examine the history of contestation over the social organization of rainmaking, sacred forests, and ecocosmologies in North Pare. By showing how these shifting ideologies of power, legitimacy, and value shape social relations and land management, the article argues that the political ecology paradigm needs a more nuanced vision of 'power' and'politics.' Bibliogr., notes, ref., sum. [Journal abstract]