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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:The Political Economy of Climatic Hazards: A Village Perspective on Drought and Peasant Economy in a Semi-Arid Region in West Africa
Author:Watts, Michael J.
Periodical:Cahiers d'études africaines
Geographic term:Northern Nigeria
Subjects:subsistence economy
Politics and Government
Economics and Trade
Drought and Desertification
Agriculture, Natural Resources and the Environment
History and Exploration
Peoples of Africa (Ethnic Groups)
External link:https://doi.org/10.3406/cea.1983.2256
Abstract:A principal concern in this work is with the historically contingent character of so called subsistence risk, the manner in which human groups negotiate settlements with their environments in order to secure survival and reproduction in the face of risk and particularly environmental perturbations. The author attempts to characterize the pre-colonial Hausa States - the Sokoto caliphate - in terms of a subsistence ethic which attempts to ensure peasant security through three broad strategies: safety first rule; norm of reciprocity; moral economy. He illustrates how these strategies correspond in the case of 19th-century Hausaland to three levels of adaptive response (the household, the community and the State) which provided a measure of collective security in the face of environmental risks and oscillations in food availability. The author argues that the roots of contemporary hunger in northern Nigeria are to be sought in the political economy of colonialism. Fig., map, notes, ref. tab.