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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Betterment and the Gendered Politics of Maize Production, Murang'a District, Central Province, Kenya, 1880-1952
Author:Mackenzie, A. Fiona D.
Periodical:Canadian Journal of African Studies
Geographic terms:Kenya
Great Britain
History and Exploration
Agriculture, Natural Resources and the Environment
Development and Technology
Peoples of Africa (Ethnic Groups)
Women's Issues
Cultural Roles
Sex Roles
External link:https://www.jstor.org/stable/486388
Abstract:This article on the Betterment discourse in Kenya and the colonial government's blueprint for the transformation of Kikuyu agriculture during the first three decades of colonial rule focuses on the gendered politics in which the production of maize was enmeshed at the local level. It first examines millet production in Murang'a District around 1880 to illustrate the gendered nature of agricultural production in Kikuyu society and to make the case that production took place in a context of environmental sustainability. Then it focuses on colonial policy with respect to research into maize, the distribution of new seed, and the promotion of maize production, which was part of Betterment. Subsequently, the author examines the gendered politics of maize, drawing attention to how the change from millet to maize, first, opened the political space for an intensification of a gendered struggle of the proceeds of women's labour and, second, how, in turn, this struggle was related to the growing insecurity in rights to land and to unsustainable use of the land. The conclusion links these arguments to the emerging environmental crisis in Kenya. Evidence is drawn, amongst others, from oral histories collected in 1984. Bibliogr., notes, ref., sum. in French.