Staff Publications

Staff Publications

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    'Staff publications' is the digital repository of Wageningen University & Research

    'Staff publications' contains references to publications authored by Wageningen University staff from 1976 onward.

    Publications authored by the staff of the Research Institutes are available from 1995 onwards.

    Full text documents are added when available. The database is updated daily and currently holds about 240,000 items, of which 72,000 in open access.

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Record number 536288
Title The Cultural Importance of Plants in Western African Religions
Author(s) Quiroz, Diana; Andel, Tinde van
Source Economic Botany (2018). - ISSN 0013-0001 - p. 1 - 12.
DOI https://doi.org/10.1007/s12231-018-9410-x
Department(s) Biosystematics
EPS
Publication type Refereed Article in a scientific journal
Publication year 2018
Abstract

This paper explores the importance of elements of the natural world, and particularly plants, among people of different religious affiliations in western Africa. Plants play an overriding role in African folk religions, which in turn are closely associated with health practices and influence management decisions concerning natural resources. In spite of the extensive literature documenting ritual plant use, the cultural importance of plants in this context has not been systematically assessed. Our objective was to see whether the importance of plants was reflected in people’s conceptions of global (i.e., Christianity, Islam) and folk religions (i.e., Vodoun and Bwiti) in Benin (West Africa) and Gabon (Central Africa). By performing a cultural domain analysis (CDA) with 96 individuals, we found that, regardless of the religious affiliation of informants, plants and other elements of the natural world were more present in people’s notions of folk religions than in global religions. We conclude by reflecting on the potentials and limitations of the data presented here as a starting point to explore the topic of cultural keystone species.

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