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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:African Peasantries, Reciprocity and Market. The Economy of Affection Reconsidered
Author:Lemarchand, RenéISNI
Periodical:Cahiers d'études africaines
Geographic term:Africa
Subjects:dual economy
market economy
rural economy
Peoples of Africa (Ethnic Groups)
Economics and Trade
External link:https://doi.org/10.3406/cea.1989.2135
Abstract:Defining the economy of affection is problematic. The underlying assumption is that affective or solidary bonds provide the necessary social cement to hold individuals and communities together in a variety of exchange situations. Such bonds are inseparable from 'the principle of reciprocity embedded in customary rules'. After analysing the notion of reciprocity, the author examines the critical issues at stake in the debate surrounding the economy of affection as it exists in African rural societies. He looks into the question of to what extent social solidarities based on affection are compatible with, or superseded by, self-interested exchanges. Using the role of the colonial State in creating rural class differentiations and intergroup conflict and the subsequent consequences for African economies as an illustration, the author examines the circumstances under which economies of affection are liable to transform themselves into economies of disaffection. Finally, he pays attention to the question in what ways and to what degree affective ties are likely to act as a disincentive to, or as an inducement for, involvement of peasants in the market economy. In this respect, the critical variable lies in the nature of the economic and social risks involved in capitalist production. Thus peasants must calculate the marginal utility of a cash income against the social costs entailed by possible neglect of social obligations. Bibliogr., notes, ref., sum. in French (p. 181).