Movements, good places and prosperous lives in rural Northeast Madagascar
Jenni Mölkänen (University of Helsinki)
Paper short abstract:
The paper discusses transnational conservation practices saving Madagascar's and globe's precious biodiversity and ways the Tsimihety strive towards good life through relations with different beings. I suggest to pay attention to continuities as well as to gaps
Paper long abstract:
Madagascar is the hot spot of transnational environmental conservation practices because of its unique biodiversity. Highlighting the understanding of the universal nature, the conservation agencies have been concerned that the Malagasy do not care about their environments but continue to practice swidden cultivation destroying precious forests. In order to secure the vital biodiversity in future and sustain environmental conservation processes economically, the Marojejy National Par, was established in 1998. The people, mainly the Tsimihety ethnicity, living in the vicinities of the park strived towards good life by marking their landscapes and establishing multiple social relations. In the course of living as the people had established houses fields and tombs, the good place (tsara banja) that they had settled, was renamed as Manantenina, "the place with many tenina plants'. A good and prosperous life referred to a landscape filled with human activities that depended on the relations with kins, ancestors and spirits and required continuous work and respect but also knowledge of environmental processes, such as water flows and soils. Although ecotourism practices offered a relatively generous income and new social relationships for those involved, the Tsimihety pointed out that ecotourism practices did not allow people to spend enough time on their rice cultivations, some tourists did not respect places that could anger spirits causing misfortune and ecotourism did not make the Tsimihety rich. Striving towards prosperous living required an understanding of social relations and knowledge of landscapes inhabited. The paper suggests to pay attention to continuities as well as gaps.
Virtuous (im)mobilities: the good life and its discrepancies