Author Biography

Stéphane Gros is a social anthropologist, researcher at the Centre for Himalayan Studies, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (C.N.R.S., France). He has been conducting anthropological research in Northwest Yunnan province, China, since the mid-nineties, especially among the Drung (Dulong). He has published a monograph entitled La Part Manquante (Société d’ethnologie, 2012) and a number of articles on issues of interethnic relations and ethnic classification, representations of ethnic minorities, poverty and categorization. He is Principal Investigator for a European-Research-Council-funded project on the Sino-Tibetan Borderlands (Starting Grant No. 283870, 2012-2016), and has served as Managing Editor (2011-2014), and is now Editor-at-Large for the open-access anthropology journal Hau: Journal of Ethnographic Theory.


Economic development and environmental protection have often proved to be conflicting driving forces behind change in northwest Yunnan province, China. In 2003, the Sloping Land Conversion Program brought an end to traditional shifting cultivation in the Dulong valley—part of the Gaoligong Mountain Nature Reserve, Gongshan County— and is now threatening Drung people’s livelihood and culture while further increasing villagers’ dependence on state subsidies. This paper addresses the implementation of this program and the difficulties encountered by locals in relation to environmental protection and economic development issues. It describes the specificities of swidden cultivation and explores aspects of human-environment relatedness in the Dulong Valley.

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