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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Labour problem and African peasantry
Author:Wilemski, E.A.ISNI
Periodical:Hemispheres: Studies on Cultures and Societies
Geographic terms:East Africa
labour force
work organization
Abstract:This paper examines the question of whether labour supply balances demand and whether manpower is economically utilized in peasant agricultural production in Eastern Africa. An examination of traditional work organization in subsistence agriculture shows that economic use of the labour force is constrained by various factors related to the polygynous marriage and the cooperative system of the homestead economy. Next, traditional cooperative working groups are discussed, illustrated with examples from the Kisii (Gusii), a Bantu tribe, and the Luo, a Nilotic tribe, both from Kenya. This is followed by an examination of slavery as a source of manpower, and the consequences of migrant labour for traditional work organization and the family labour force. Next, attention is paid to the implications of wage labour in agriculture, and to the phenomenon of how the breakdown of the traditional subsistence economy and the involvement of subsistence cultivators in the national economic system converted subsistence cultivators into peasantries with different socioeconomic subclasses. An examination of the labour situation in peasant agriculture shows that the demand for labour is not proportionally distributed throughout the year, but is determined by the agricultural cycle. Furthermore, it shows that manpower is not used economically. Suggestions for improving the situation conclude the article. Bibliogr., ref.