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Anthropos into humanitas: Civilizing violence, scientific forestry, and the ‘Dorobo question’ in eastern Africa

Cavanagh C
November 2016

Drawing upon archival research in Kenya and the United Kingdom, the author argues that halting attempts to govern forest-dwelling communities in east Africa illuminates a historically and geographically specific dimension of late imperial Britain’s apparently ‘liberal’ biopolitics. The author  describes that this has entailed not the ‘abandonment’ of populations, per se, but rather the elimination and subsequent transformation of livelihoods, ontologies, and sustainablities perceived as fiscally barren or otherwise of little use to the colonial state. They argue that the afterlives of these logics of elimination highlight the stakes of contemporary struggles over eastern African forests, and particularly so in the context of an emergent transition to ‘green’ forms of capitalism.

Publication type: 
Journal Article
Source name: 
Environment and Planning – Society and Space