Smelling the monsoon: Senses and traditional weather forecasting knowledge among the Kenyah Badeng farmers of Sarawak, Malaysia

Garay-Barayazarra, Gotzone and Puri, Rajindra K. (2011) Smelling the monsoon: Senses and traditional weather forecasting knowledge among the Kenyah Badeng farmers of Sarawak, Malaysia. Indian Journal of Traditional Knowledge, 10 (1). pp. 21-30. ISSN 0975-1068. (Full text available)

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Abstract

The paper describes the rich variety of sensory knowledge associated with weather and climate prediction practices of Kenyah Badeng rice farmers in Sarawak, East Malaysia. Ethnobiological and ethnographic methods were used to document knowledge underpinning traditional forecasting techniques. This body of ethno-climatological knowledge includes the skilled use of bodily senses such as sight, sound, touch and smell to gather information on clouds, wind, temperature, humidity and rain needed to assess present and coming weather. This perceptual information is interpreted with a cultural storehouse of weather/climate-related categories and experiences, and plays an influential role in the scheduling of daily agricultural activities and responding to the threats of extreme climatic variability, such as that brought on by ENSO events every few years. The research demonstrates the importance of thinking of traditional knowledge in broad terms, as much more than the declarative knowledge of wordlists, stories and instructions. The means of engagement with the environment are beyond words, in the realm of embodied skills such as smelling the monsoon.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled keywords: Indigenous knowledge, Traditional forecasting, Climate forecasting, Sensory anthropology, Ethnoclimatology, Sarawak, East Malaysia, Borneo
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GE Environmental Sciences
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GF Human ecology. Anthropogeography
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GN Anthropology
S Agriculture > S Agriculture (General)
Divisions: Faculties > Social Sciences > School of Anthropology and Conservation > Environmental Anthropology and Ethnobiology
Depositing User: Rajindra K Puri
Date Deposited: 11 Oct 2012 09:36
Last Modified: 04 Jun 2014 09:02
Resource URI: http://kar.kent.ac.uk/id/eprint/31520 (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
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