Social Life of Teak

Social Life of Teak 

Tracing human interactions with the world’s most famous tropical timber species, The Social Life of Teak maps worlds revolving around teak forests, trees and wood.

What gives Tectona grandis such a powerful aura, stoking desires and capturing imaginations? How has teak shaped people’s lives, driving fortunes and impacting futures? What has happened to the teak forests and what is their destiny?

Exploring teak’s significance highlights processes of consumption and commodification, inviting questions about our relationships with nature and the politics of value.

In this illustrated anthology of oral histories, people connected personally or professionally to teak speak of survival, change and learning, creativity and destruction, growth and demise. Woven together, these experiences bring to light the ways that teak has been sought, crafted, cultivated, traded and prized over time.

Animist beliefs, creative expression, scientific invention, economic viability, imperialist expansion, peak luxury, violent repression, ecological disaster and the regenerative power of nature all find a home in this global intergenerational tale.

Charting the domestication of wilderness and exposing the era of extinction of a feted natural resource, this book seeks to stimulate conversations about our role as nature’s most troublesome offspring.

FORMAT 230 x 250mm | No. OF PAGES 256 | ILLUSTRATIONS 136 COLOUR PHOTOGRAPHS | PAPERBACK | PRICE US$45.00 | ISBN 978 616 451082 1

Superb graphic artwork

Visually stunning with beautiful, evocative photographs and superb graphic artwork


Broad appeal to ecologists, historians, foresters, sociologists, anthropologists, economists, ethnographers, scholars of governance, law, indigenous and colonial studies, botanists, agriculturalists, climatologists, political scientists, biotechnologists, artists, architects, carpenters, sailors and the general reader interested in natural resource management and people.


Timely, provocative and intelligent, a unique approach to exploring cultural and environmental themes through personal narratives highlighting issues of justice, equity, power, food security, economics, technological advancement and globalisation.


Subtly crafted, frank, tender, poetic, profound

Arjun Appadurai,

Professor Emeritus,
Media, Culture, Communication, New York University

Dr Su Lin Lewis,

Associate Professor in Modern Global History, University of Bristol

William Logan,

Professor Emeritus, Cultural Heritage Asia Pacific, Faculty of Arts and Education, Deakin University

Dr Paritta Chalermpow Koanantakool,

former Director, The Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn Anthropology Centre, UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage facilitator

Dr Uma J. Lele,

President, International Association of Agricultural Economists, Institute of Economic Growth, University of Delhi

Susan Macdonald,

Head of Buildings and Sites, Getty Conservation Institute

Dr Francois Tainturier,

Director, Inya Institute, Yangon

Dr P.K. Thulasidas,

Steering Committee Member of TEAKNET, former Principal Scientist & Head, Wood Science & Technology, Kerala Forest Research Institute


The Social Life of Teak

USD $45.00