This study contributes to the literature on the effects of extractive capitalism on sedentary subsistence herding and the loss of traditional knowledge, in this case about a wild edible, the oak manna gezhemgen. I present local narratives explaining the relationships between oak forests, climatic conditions and the agricultural cycle in Eastern Anatolia, Turkey. Gezhemgen is a sign of a good harvest and signifies the power of fertility (being also called "the power of Hızır", a deity). Pastoralist practices are affected by intrastate war and the appropriation of governance rights to grazing. There is a relationship between accessibility of pastures and the vertical transmission of knowledge on the flora of the highlands to young generations. Narratives were gathered during ethnographic fieldwork between 2011-2017 in the Pülümür, Ovacık, Nazımiye and Kalan districts of Dersim. The food gathering behaviors of local populations are also influenced by urbanization, military violence and expropriation of use rights on common grazing grounds. The article reveals multiple effects of the transitions from customary systems of sedentary pastoralism to commercialized modes of agricultural production.
Keywords: land relations, armed conflict, Eastern Anatolia, foraging, wild edibles
How to Cite:
Yürür G., (2021) “How gezhemgen, the oak manna, has been forgotten in Dersim (Tunceli) in the Upper Euphrates basin: extractive capitalism and local knowledge”, Journal of Political Ecology 28(1). p.193-204. doi: https://doi.org/10.2458/jpe.2355
- Altinbas University (grant PB2016 – GÜZ TIP 7)