Human Ecology

, Volume 25, Issue 1, pp 47–69

Endangered Forest, Endangered People: Environmentalist Representations of Indigenous Knowledge

  • J. Peter Brosius


Since 1987, Penan foragers in Malaysia have been increasingly affected by the activities of logging companies, and have protested this with blockades. Simultaneously, they have become the focus of a broad-based international environmental campaign. This paper examines the rhetoric of that campaign. In particular, I examine the ways in which Western environmentalists have constructed Penan land rights with reference to Penan knowledge of the landscape and of the biotic elements which exist there. Further, I consider how environmentalists have drawn on ethnographic accounts, and how those accounts are transformed in the process of generating images deployed in the campaign.

rainforests environmentalism indigenous knowledge Penan Borneo 

Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. Peter Brosius
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of AnthropologyUniversity of GeorgiaAthens

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