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YOU ARE WHAT YOU BUILD: ARCHITECTURE AS IDENTITY AMONG THE BAMILEKE OF WEST CAMEROON

DOMINIQUE MALAQUAIS
Traditional Dwellings and Settlements Review
Vol. 5, No. 2 (SPRING 1994), pp. 21-35
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/41757168
Page Count: 15
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
YOU ARE WHAT YOU BUILD: ARCHITECTURE AS IDENTITY AMONG THE BAMILEKE OF WEST CAMEROON
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Abstract

Among the Bamileke people, architecture plays a critical role in the construction of social identity. Human beings and their dwellings are linked in a symbiotic relation, at the heart of which stands one fundamental concern: the acquisition of status. In the following pages I address one aspect of this relation — the manner in which quests for social recognition, wealth and prestige are articulated in the ornamentation of men's meeting houses. My analysis throughout focuses on one specific architectural element known as the "stomach of the house" and on the manner in which this element is associated with the human stomach — the seat of a man's identity.

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