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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Polanyi's 'Ports of Trade': Salaga and Kano in the Nineteenth Century
Author:Lovejoy, Paul E.ISNI
Periodical:Canadian Journal of African Studies
Geographic term:West Africa
Subjects:long-distance trade
History and Exploration
Economics and Trade
External link:https://www.jstor.org/stable/484296
Abstract:The 'port of trade' was the keystone to Polanyi's analysis of administered trade in primitive and archaic societies. Polanyi's main contribution in the context of the caravan trade of the western and central Sudan was not his theory as such but the reactions to it. By showing why Polanyi's model does not apply, it is possible to reach a better understanding of past economic behaviour. Polanyi's theory has the appearance of coherence which is particularly clear with respect to his concept 'port of trade', a term used to describe centres of exchange on the political frontiers of states and empires. How better to describe the 'ports' at the southern edge of the Sahara or along the ecological divide between savanna and forest? With some mischievous intent, the author proposes to consider two such towns that should fit Polanyi's model but do not. These towns, Salaga and Kano, were two of the most important commercial centres in 19th-century West Africa. These two cities, connected by trade, represent contrasting types of commercial centres. Map, notes, sum. in French.