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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Social and political aspects of intensive agriculture in East Africa: some models from cultural anthropology
Author:Hakansson, T.
Periodical:Azania: Archaeological Research in Africa (ISSN 1945-5534)
Notes:biblio. refs.
Geographic terms:East Africa
Subjects:social structure
agricultural history
agricultural intensification
Peoples of Africa (Ethnic Groups)
Agriculture, Natural Resources and the Environment
Development and Technology
Economics and Trade
Politics and Government
Agriculture, Agronomy, Forestry
Intensive farming
land use
External link:https://doi.org/10.1080/00672708909511393
Abstract:Little attention has been paid to the question of the relationship between sociopolitical organization and agricultural production in Africa. Recent research has shown that during the precolonial period in East Africa (various areas in Kenya and Tanzania), intensive cultivation was more widespread than now, with instances of irrigation, manuring and erosion control. Many of these systems have since disappeared, and the conditions under which they developed and were sustained have been little investigated. The author challenges the applicability of E. Boserup's thesis ('The conditions of agricultural growth', Chicago, 1965) on the relationship between agricultural intensification and population growth in sub-Saharan Africa, and argues instead that the political economy affects agricultural production in a number of ways. Furthermore, irrigation is often associated with socioeconomic stratification and political centralization. The management of local irrigation systems is dependent on the sustained authority of elders and principles of lineage organization. The author argues that the study of agricultural intensification must take into account the institutional and systemic features of political, social and economic organization. Intensification may be the result of political processes and may be sustained by social and political institutions. When these institutions break down, agricultural practices may also change from intensive to extensive. Bibliogr., notes.