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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Change and continuity in traditional institutions: the Benin example
Author:Agbontaen, K.A.
Periodical:West African Journal of Archaeology
Geographic term:Nigeria
Benin polity
Abstract:This essay demonstrates that since the European conquest of Benin (Nigeria) at the end of the nineteenth century the guild system has been undergoing a number of changes and adaptations which have today virtually destroyed the craft guilds as corporate institutions and as a system. In a purely precolonial setting, the guild system actively promoted the development and growth of indigenous craft industries in Benin. This picture, however, began to change with the introduction of colonial rule with its new economic opportunities and tastes and the resultant social change. The guilds began a long process of adaptation which continued under the impact of modernization. While it is clear that the craft occupations around which the guilds were organized in old Benin will continue as long as they satisfy the needs of modern Benin, similar optimism cannot be expressed for the guilds as a system, as many of them have no more relevance today, and have thus naturally fallen out of use. Bibliogr.