Saturday, 27 February 2016

A personal view on the book Selling the Serengeti by Ben Gardner

There have been some developments in Loliondo that I need to blog about when I’ve got enough information, but first I have a book to write about.

A book of great interest to this blog has been published: Selling the Serengeti: The Cultural Politics of Safari Tourism by associate professor in the School of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences at the University of Washington Bothell, Benjamin Gardner. In spite of the title, the focus of this book is exclusively on the Loliondo Maasai and the different “investors” that are using, and in the worst case, claiming ownership to Maasai land.

Selling the Serengeti is not a report about what has happened, but rather something like an analysis of how the different actors are presented, or present themselves and their relation to the land, and how it affects the Maasai’s struggle to control their land. The book situates this in relation to earlier research, like that of Rod Neumann, Doreen Massey and Stuart Hall (which makes the list of books I need to get hold of longer and more expensive). Some important pieces of the story are left out, while others are closely examined.