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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Institutional Syncretism and the Articulation of Modes of Production in Rural Senegalese Land Tenure Relations
Author:Galvan, Dennis
Periodical:African Rural and Urban Studies
Geographic term:Senegal
customary law
land law
Agriculture, Natural Resources and the Environment
Development and Technology
Peoples of Africa (Ethnic Groups)
Abstract:In the Siin region of westcentral Senegal, peasants have refused to commodify land. This reflects adherence to a precapitalist mode of production, as well as the creation of syncretic institutions derived from precapitalist and capitalist structures and social relations, as exemplified by 'taile', a form of land pawning which has become a key term in the informal economy of rural Senegal. It is an exchange in which one party offers a valued item as collateral for a cash loan. Facing pressure to develop a market in land and to place ownership in the hands of individuals, Sereer-Siin farmers blended the capitalist freehold property model with their own lineage-communal holding model to produce an innovative system of exchange, the 'taile' pawn. 'Taile' allows transfers of land for cash without impacting local notions of ownership because a 'taile' transfers only use rights to land without altering title. The story of 'taile' pawning illustrates the usefulness of the Marxian mode of production optic. Since the 1920s, economic commodification, colonial codification of custom, and religious Islamization have worked together to generate pressure for standardization of property ownership and exchange. 'Taile' serves as a building block in the synchronic articulation of concatenating modes of production, facilitating the spread of commodity production but blocking the establishment of freehold property relations. Notes, ref.