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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Cocoa, marriage, labour and land in Ghana: some matrilineal and patrilineal perspectives
Author:Duncan, Beatrice AkuaISNI
Periodical:Africa: Journal of the International African Institute (ISSN 0001-9720)
Geographic term:Ghana
gender division of labour
customary law
External links:https://doi.org/10.3366/afr.2010.0206
Abstract:There is evidence to show that the institution of marriage, particularly customary law marriage, has served as an important framework for the extraction of conjugal labour as a factor in cocoa production since its introduction in the Gold Coast in 1879. This was necessitated by the abolition in 1874 of slavery and pawning, and the consequent need to replace an illegitimate and coercive system with a legitimate one. By virtue of a pre-existing customary obligation placed on women to assist their husbands in their economic pursuits, the marriage institution provided a basis for this transition. It has been argued, however, that some forms of economic relationship in Ghana revolve around expectations of reciprocity, and that human beings are not altogether altruistic in their dispensation of labour. Hence, women who provide labour support to their husbands expect to be rewarded with land or cocoa farms. In this article, the author argues that the pivotal role of cocoa in the rural economy intensified the use of conjugal labour and the consequent expectation of land by wives from their husbands, resulting in a situation in which cocoa, marriage, labour and land rights eventually evolved as 'institutional quadruplets'. Through case studies extracted from field work conducted in six communities in the Brong Ahafo, Western and Volta Regions of Ghana, the author demonstrates the continued interplay between these forces in modern times, and outlines some policy-centred concerns for the future direction of the cocoa industry. Bibliogr., notes, ref., sum. in English and French. [Journal abstract]