"We Have Eaten the Forest"

Georges Condominas in Vietnam


When Georges Condominas was 27 he came to live in Sar Luk, a village inhabited by the Mnong Gar people, on the Darlac plateau (nowadays the Dac Lac province), in the centre of Vietnam, seeking to immerse himself completely within the culture. He intended to overcome a particular form of indo-Chinese ethnography, the work of missionaries and administrators who had lacked the intimate experiences and the methods that a professional approach requires. For him, it was necessary to share the villagers' daily lives and his aim was to analyse their social life in its multiple dimensions as faithfully as possible, using tried and tested survey techniques. It involved ‘participating in the life of a village in the course of at least a year, in order to follow the sequence of an farming cycle in its entirety’.The main purpose of this volume is to illustrate and to explain how a great ethnologist engaged in fieldwork, by re-assembling all the bits and pieces that his work represented: notes, sketches, photographs, collected objects… Condominas’ words, both past and present, provide insight into the meaning of this particular set of findings, both at the time when he compiled them and today.


128 pages • 20 x 26 cm • 29 €
Co-published by musée du quai Branly - Jacques Chirac / Actes Sud 2006
ISBN: 9782915133165