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Egalitarian social organization: The case of the mbendjele baYaka

Lewis, J; (2017) Egalitarian social organization: The case of the mbendjele baYaka. In: Hewlett, BS, (ed.) Hunter-Gatherers of the Congo Basin: Cultures, Histories, and Biology of African Pygmies. (pp. 219-243). Routledge: New York, NY, USA. Green open access

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Abstract

The steady reduction in access to forest by Pygmy groups across central Africa has resulted in most being more accurately called ”former hunter-gatherers“ than hunter-gatherers. Despite great diversity of situations that many Pygmy groups find themselves, they share some remarkable similarities. In particular, their egalitarian social organization is bound up in a matrix with other key cultural practices. Bahuchet tabulated his observations of cultural similarities and differences between Kola, Bongo, Baka, Aka, Twa, Asua, Mbuti, and Efe Pygmies stretching from west to east across the Congo Basin. Although continuing to hunt and gather, here they will also trade, labor or perform services for villagers in return for food, goods, alcohol or money. The Mbendjele clans with whom we lived have exchange relations with four different groups of farmers: the Bongili, Kabunga, Sangha-Sangha and recently with the Bodingo. The term “bayaka” is contracted to different extents and used by Aka, Baka, Luma, Mbendjele, and Mikaya, typically as baaka, or baka.

Type: Book chapter
Title: Egalitarian social organization: The case of the mbendjele baYaka
ISBN-13: 9781412853613
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.4324/9780203789438
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.4324/9780203789438
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Dept of Anthropology
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10177706
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