The Dogon heartland: rural transformations on the Bandiagara escarpment

TitleThe Dogon heartland: rural transformations on the Bandiagara escarpment
Publication TypeBook Chapter
Year of Publication2005
AuthorsW. E. A.van Beek
Secondary TitleSahelian pathways : climate and society in Central and South Mali
Pagination40 - 70
Date Published2005///
Publication Languageeng
Keywordsclimate, colonialism, Dogon, environment, livelihoods, Mali, Rural

To glean the pathways of Dogon (Mali) adaptation to and coping with their physical environment and the climate, the author focuses on cases of environmental conflict in the recent past, thereby trying to establish the Dogon notions of scarcity and environmental problems. He looks at their ways of dealing with (too much) rain and drought; the effects on Dogon society of slave raiding, external warfare and colonialism; the Dogon way of village life - particularly their orientation towards harmony and unity among clan members and villages; Dogon millet farming - especially its flexibility and adaptive dimensions; the productivity and the vulnerability of generating income through cash crops (onions); tensions caused by scarcity of resources (land, cattle and vegetation); the Dogon concept of territory and territorial rights. The author concludes that the Dogon have shown themselves to be quite versatile in 'settled adaptation', quick to adopt new techniques and eager to explore new possibilities for gaining a living. Conflicts have arisen, but up till recently the Dogon have managed to regulate them within harmony-oriented and community-focused measures. [ASC Leiden abstract]

Citation Key716