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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:The Market Meets Sacred Fire: Land Pawning as Institutional Syncretism in Inter-War Senegal
Author:Galvan, Dennis
Periodical:African Economic History
Geographic term:Senegal
customary law
land law
Agriculture, Natural Resources and the Environment
Law, Human Rights and Violence
History and Exploration
Abstract:This article examines processes of institutional and cultural adaptation in the Siin region of west-central Senegal on the basis of 16 months of field research in the area in 1993. It explores how the Serer-Siin (the primary ethno-linguistic group of the Siin) responded to and adapted models of individually held, alienable private property imposed in the early part of this century as the Siin was transformed into the heartland of Senegal's peanut basin. In the face of pressure to develop a market in land and place ownership in the hand of individuals, Serer communities produced an innovative system of exchange, the 'taile' pawn, which accommodated the demands of a new economic order, but did so in a way consistent with a particular historical memory of 'traditional' norms and rules regarding ownership and exchange of land. After briefly describing 'taile' as a form of economic exchange, the author sketches precolonial land tenure relations in the Siin region. Second, he explores transformations associated with commodification and the expansion of Sufi Islam in the 1920s and 1930s. Against this background, he analyses 'taile' as a kind of 'institutional syncretism' which transformed land tenure institutions. Finally, he examines the ambiguous legacy of this form of institutional syncretism. App., notes, ref.