Go to AfricaBib home

Go to AfricaBib home AfricaBib Go to database home

bibliographic database
Previous page New search

The free AfricaBib App for Android is available here

Book chapter Book chapter Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Kpelle steelmaking: an indigenous high technology in Liberia
Author:Thomasson, Gordon C.ISNI
Book title:The cultural dimension of development: indigenous knowledge systems
Geographic term:Liberia
metalworking industry
Abstract:Traditional Western perspectives on African metallurgy assume that African products were inferior and that European goods displaced African manufactures by competition. This article analyses steelmaking among the Kpelle in Liberia and shows that it was a highly adapted indigenous knowledge system or complex of indigenous technical knowledge. It also shows that free trade, mass production and 'competition' with imported goods did not eclipse the Kpelle iron industry. Factors leading to its breakdown included changing patterns of trade, the distortion of market prices, and the distortion of labour costs during the colonial period. With minimal government cooperation, the author believes the industry still could be revived, better serving the nation's farmers, blacksmiths, and the economy as a whole, and making Liberia self-sufficient in the production of iron hoes, axes, etc. Notes, ref.