Chapter

Cameroon: Decentralization and Belonging

in The Perils of Belonging

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print May 2009 | ISBN: 9780226289649
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226289663 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7208/chicago/9780226289663.003.0003
Cameroon: Decentralization and Belonging

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This chapter describes autochthony in a very different part of Cameroon—the very thinly populated forest area of East Province. For Cameroon's East Province, the ideals of the new development policies were condensed in the 1994 Forest Law. This new forest law was the main catalyst in turning autochthony into a crucial issue. The creation of a new community forest might even accelerate the depletion of remaining forest resources. The forest law provided openings for increasing local involvement in the management of the forest. The new possibilities opened up by the forest law may make even the local belonging of the elites uncertain, despite all their professed attachment to the “home” village. In the examples from the forest area, neoliberal interventions triggered again an urgent preoccupation to purify the group of strange elements and thus draw the circles of “true” belonging ever closer.

Keywords: autochthony; Cameroon; East Province; forest resources; 1994 Forest Law; belonging; neoliberal interventions

Chapter.  12853 words. 

Subjects: Anthropology

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