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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Risky Business: Economic Uncertainty, Market Reforms and Female Livelihoods in Northeast Ghana
Author:Chalfin, Brenda
Periodical:Development and Change
Geographic term:Ghana
oil crops
women traders
Women's Issues
Economics and Trade
Labor and Employment
Sex Roles
Abstract:When structuralist approaches to political economy are brought together with theories of economic uncertainty gleaned from the field of economic anthropology, a more nuanced picture of the nature of economic instability and its implications for rural markets and livelihoods is brought into focus. Specifically, ethnographic research carried out in 1994-1995 among female shea nut (an oil seed) traders from north Ghana's Bawku District shows that rural women strategically incorporate uncertainty into their modes of livelihood. Not only do traders employ a variety of tactics in order to mitigate instability, they also manipulate and even heighten the exigencies of the market to their own advantage. This is accomplished through the pursuit of three sorts of economic strategies: the forging of distinctive social networks and bodies of knowledge, the promotion of ambiguous transactional norms, and the interweaving of multiple transactional orders. All underwrite the reproduction of the rural shea markets and livelihoods as they structure external interventions. Bibliogr., sum.