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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Can Marxism Explain Africa? Evidence from Senegal's Rural Political Economy
Author:Elkins, CarolineISNI
Periodical:African Rural and Urban Studies
Geographic term:Senegal
political economy
land law
Economics and Trade
Politics and Government
Agriculture, Natural Resources and the Environment
Abstract:This article examines organizational, political, and economic factors in the interactions of central government policy on property rights and local institutions in two villages (a floodplain village and a herding village) in the Middle Valley of the Senegal River Basin, based on fieldwork in 1993-1994. By comparing evidence across communities facing the same reforms, it helps reveal relationships between social organization and the evolution of local modes of production. While State-led development has yielded more positive results where local institutions demonstrated hierarchy and concentration of authority, liberal and market-oriented reform tends to work better with segmented and differentiated local organizations. The droughts of the 1970s, dam construction in the 1980s, and declining peanut revenues in the 1990s have generated incentives for Middle Valley Pulaars to reevaluate their options, and for the central government of Senegal to promote production of irrigated rice. The government has created new organizations to survey land and register titles. Yet local institutions establish the strongest incentives operating for or against villagers' rice-related activities. The institutional stability of Pulaar property rights carries significance even as the central government tries to redefine land tenure. The way families and individuals perceive their experiences within the evolving contemporary land tenure system owes much to their appreciation for cultural ideals. Bibliogr., notes, ref.