Wildlife and its habitat has been the subject of dispute and friction in Africa, but many countries implement "community-based" approaches today. With the recent tendency of adopting more neoliberal definitions of this term, the exercise and embedment of power in wildlife conservation became the subject of studies. Using the case study of a Maasai society in southern Kenya, this paper examines the agency of local societies from the viewpoint of "positionings": points of contention regarding wildlife; their attitudes toward conservation initiatives; and their representation of self-image. As community-based conservation (CBC) was implemented, the central point of contention shifted from land to benefits, and local people changed their attitudes from distrustful and exclusive, to receptive and passive, to more active. Also their self-representation changed from those of victims to conservationists. These changes prove they have a certain agency. However, the outcomes of their agency include both productive and unsatisfying aspects, and may lead to the reinforcement of the current animal welfare; rights-oriented policies that conceal the existence and opinion of local victims. The next step is to consider whether that agency can be regarded as a potential for abandoning the status quo and creating a more desirable environment.
African study monographs. Supplementary issue. 50 155-172, 2014-10
The Research Committee for African Area Studies, Kyoto University