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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Colonisation Indigene: French Rural Development Ideology at the Office Du Niger, 1920-1940
Author:Van Beusekom, Monica M.
Periodical:International Journal of African Historical Studies
Geographic terms:Mali
agricultural projects
History and Exploration
Drought and Desertification
Agriculture, Natural Resources and the Environment
Abstract:This essay explores the theoretical underpinnings of interwar development policy in Soudan Français (Mali) and suggests how the debates and programmes of this era were closely linked, both theoretically and practically, with postwar attempts at an agricultural revolution. The essay begins by discussing the origins of the principal development policy adopted in Soudan during the interwar period: 'colonisation indigène' or native colonization. It examines the main theoretical assumptions that guided this policy: the conviction that high population density was indispensable for development, the belief that intensive plough agriculture and private property were superior to African farming systems, and the view that the nuclear family had to be promoted. The essay then discusses the implementation of 'colonisation indigène' at the Office du Niger, a large-scale rice and cotton irrigation scheme, and one of the most substantial French investments in West African agriculture. Finally it highlights continuities between the 'colonisation indigène' and postwar agricultural development efforts in Soudan Français, notably a social evolutionary model of development, the privileging of European technology and expertise, and concern over environmental degradation. Notes, ref.