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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Gender and Witchcraft in Agrarian Transition: The Case of Kenyan Horticulture
Author:Dolan, Catherine S.
Periodical:Development and Change
Geographic term:Kenya
gender relations
contract farming
Peoples of Africa (Ethnic Groups)
Women's Issues
Development and Technology
Religion and Witchcraft
Agriculture, Natural Resources and the Environment
Labor and Employment
Cultural Roles
Sex Roles
Marital Relations and Nuptiality
External link:https://doi.org/10.1111/1467-7660.00274
Abstract:During the 1980s and 1990s contract farming was popularized by donors and governments alike as a way to reduce poverty and increase opportunities for self-employment in rural areas. This paper examines the social effects - particularly conflicts between husbands and wives over land, labour and income - of contract farming of horticultural crops for export, in this case French beans, among smallholders in Abothuguchi West, Central Imenti Division, Meru District, Kenya. Fieldwork was conducted in the area from 1994 to 1996, followed by three visits in 1998-2000. The paper suggests that men's failure to compensate their wives for horticultural production has given rise to a string of witchcraft allegations and acts, as the wealth engendered by horticultural commodities comes up against cultural norms of marital obligation. While witchcraft accusations can expose women to risks of social alienation and financial deprivation, withcraft nevertheless remains a powerful weapon through which women can level intra-household disparities and challenge the legitimacy of social practice. In Meru, witchcraft discourses are a vehicle through which gendered struggles over contract income are articulated and contested, and through which the social costs of agrarian transition become apparent. Bibliogr., notes, ref., sum. [Journal abstract]