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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Cloth, Commodity Production, and Social Capital: Women in Maradi, Niger, 1890-1989
Author:Cooper, Barbara M.
Periodical:African Economic History
Geographic term:Niger
cotton industry
Women's Issues
Economics and Trade
Labor and Employment
Peoples of Africa (Ethnic Groups)
History and Exploration
Cultural Roles
Sex Roles
Status of Women
External link:https://www.jstor.org/stable/3601809
Abstract:This study explores the question of how women in Maradi, Niger, have found cloth to be a source of economic and political power in the 19th and 20th centuries. The author shows that by attending to the wide range of cultural associations which link cotton and cloth with women we can begin to understand women's roles in the cloth production-distribution system of Maradi in the 19th century, while noting how shifts in the economy have affected women's position within the local cultural economy in the 20th century. In Maradi it was not the direct production of cotton for the market that led to male control of the productive and marketing processes. Rather, cotton production was gradually destroyed by the growth of peanut production, which gave rise to a trade economy in which imported cotton cloth was promoted and local cotton production was driven out by the competition. Both men and women contributed to the demise of local textile production, taking advantage of other opportunities in the economy and replacing locally produced cloth with more prestigious imported cloth. Gifts of cloth today no longer have a direct symbolic link with female productive or creative force - on the contrary, gifts of cloth have increasingly become the preserve of men as the influence of notions of female dependency associated with Islam and northern Nigeria take on greater importance. Notes, ref.