La Souveraineté de la Terre Une leçon africaine sur l'habiter by Danouta Liberski-Bagnoud

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Publication of La Souveraineté de la Terre Une leçon africaine sur l'habiter by Danouta Liberski-Bagnoud, 21 April 2024


Publisher's summary

Industrial societies can no longer set themselves up as a model of development today. Even before destroying the environmental balance for all peoples, they embarked on a form of dehumanisation of the world that compromises the maintenance of humanised forms of life. On this fundamental issue, the systems of thought that have flourished south of the Sahara provide us with essential insights and avenues for reflection. They offer us a valuable lesson on a notion marginalised in Western law but central to these systems: the inappropriable.

Indeed, the Earth is placed beyond any form of commerce. Viewed as an independent, free, and sovereign entity, guaranteeing fundamental prohibitions, it belongs only to itself. Forged in the crucible of ritual, this conception organises the entire life of the community and the sharing of land. It is thereby contrary to our legal and economic fictions that allow us to act as if the land were a commodity circulating among private owners, and which have the effect of detaching us from our territories. Moreover, it enables another way of inhabiting the world. This work aims to show some ways offered by African societies to rethink our relationship with the Earth and thus give a future to generations to come.

Danouta Liberski-Bagnoud is an ethnologist. A research director at the CNRS and emeritus director of the Institut des Mondes Africains, her research focuses on Voltaic systems of thought, which she approaches through extensive field experience with the Kasena village communities of Burkina Faso. Trained in experimental comparativism in the tradition of Marcel Detienne and Michel Cartry, she has notably participated in collective works on the making of territory, the prohibition of murder, the architecture of the invisible, mourning rites, and divination. She has also been an associate member of the Nantes Institute for Advanced Study.

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