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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:'Is it lawful for people to have their things taken away by force?' High modernism and ungovernability in colonial Zimbabwe
Author:Thompson, GuyISNI
Periodical:African Studies
Geographic term:Zimbabwe
Subjects:land reform
agricultural policy
native reserves
colonial administration
History and Exploration
Development and Technology
Ethnic and Race Relations
Labor and Employment
Agriculture, Natural Resources and the Environment
Law, Human Rights and Violence
Abstract:The Native Land Husbandry Act (NLHA) launched by the white minority government in Southern Rhodesia (Zimbabwe) during the 1950s was an ambitious agricultural development scheme for the colony's African peasantry. It exemplified the thinking of colonial reformers and the assumptions that they shared - ideas that encountered intense peasant resistance. While the NLHA's advocates shared a strong common image of a modernized peasantry, this vision was not widely upheld in Southern Rhodesia. Support for the law rested on complex constellations of settler interest groups and government officials who saw the measure meeting different, even contradictory, economic and political priorities in the colony's rapidly changing complex post-Second World War political economy. However, the scheme was unpopular with Africans. The labour demands it imposed on reserve residents represented a fundamental clash of agrarian systems between the diverse practices adopted by peasants and State planners' standardized vision of farming. Peasant resistance to implementation played a central role in the government's suspension of NLHA implementation in February 1962 as part of a wider effort to reassert its authority in the countryside. The author draws on James Scott's concept of high modernism and Michel Foucault's model of the disciplinary regime in his analysis, and data from interviews conducted in 1997-1998 with 115 elderly residents of Madziwa Communal Area. Bibliogr., notes, ref. [ASC Leiden abstract]