chapter  5
16 Pages

The Outside of the Village as a ‘Life-Giving’ Reservoir

This chapter provides an analysis of the contiguous zones, and therefore elements, that compose the outside of the village, an area called àna kɛrigu (kɛrgu), the ‘side of’, or the outside of, the village (Figure 5.1). In the villagers’ view, the àna kɛrigu functions as a framing device for the village because it contains life resources. I propose that the village territory can be dened as a humanised landscape shaped and reshaped through the seasonal embodied experiences of villagers’ working in and crossing the territory. In other words, human action on the land, such as the exploitation of natural resources as well as its ritual management, confers particular congurations and meanings to the territory. By drawing on van Beek and Banga’s (1992) work, I conceptualise the outside of the village-and more specically the cultivated bush-as the ‘life-giving reservoir’ of the village, that is to say, a place from which the Dogon people extract their daily means of subsistence and therefore on which they are greatly dependant. It is certainly the most important aspect of the territory of Tiréli, because it contains the elds that, for the most part, host millet. Hence, I explore the dimension of the outside of the village as a form of container for the inside of the village, by looking at the elements of which the outside is composed through the Dogon people’s seasonal and daily activities.