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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Irrigation Technology and Social Change: An Analysis of the Social Variables of Technology
Authors:Ton, Kees
Jong, Kees de
Periodical:Journal of Developing Areas
Geographic term:Mali
Subjects:social change
Agriculture, Natural Resources and the Environment
Development and Technology
External links:https://www.jstor.org/stable/4191963
Abstract:The authors discuss irrigation technology as a social construct. They present a conceptual framework to link an analysis of irrigation technology with an analysis of society in a way that can be used by the technicians who determine project designs. Until the 1970s, flood irrigation technology was central to the farming system of the Songhai and Bella, sedentary agriculturalists living along the Niger river valley near Timbuktu, Mali. The inputs needed were locally available seeds and labour. Now, however, small-scale pump irrigation has been introduced into this farming system. This technological innovation has changed the character of the production process, because pump irrigation requires a specific form of organization, extra financial capacity, access to inputs and technical support, and additional knowledge. The introduction of this technology into the social relations of the villages has reinforced the claims of men and Songhai to the land and has worsened the subordinate position of women and Bella. Women and Bella lack influence on organization and the processes of decisionmaking, access to land and other resources, and financial capacity to acquire the means of production. Irrigation engineers should realize that irrigation technology not only has technical aspects but also important social aspects. Ref.