Gender, Land and Livelihoods in East Africa: Through Farmers' Eyes

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IDRC, 2001 - Business & Economics - 263 pages
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This book illustrates in rich detail the complexity and diversity of women’s lives in Maragoli, western Kenya, as they work to sustain their soils and negotiate a plethora of competing demands and constraints in an increasingly stressful economic environment. With extensive use of personal narratives and photographs from the farmers of Maragoli, this book demonstrates that soil degradation is not simply a function of population pressure and ignorance; rather, it is embedded in gender relations and complex struggles at the local level.
  

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Page 181 - There is a sense in which rapid economic progress is impossible without painful readjustments. Ancient philosophies have to be scrapped; old social institutions have to disintegrate; bonds of caste, creed, and race have to be burst; and large numbers of persons who cannot keep up with progress have to have their expectations of a comfortable life frustrated.
Page 18 - ... they come to view those facts from a different position, from their own position as subjects. When colonial subjects begin to be critical of the formerly imitative attitude they had toward the colonists, what is happening is that they begin to identify with the colonized rather than the colonizers.69 This difference in positional perspective does not necessitate a change in what are taken to be facts, although new facts may come into view from the new position, but it does necessitate a political...
Page 82 - In future, if these recommendations are accepted, former government policy will be reversed and able, energetic or rich Africans will be able to acquire more land and bad or poor farmers less, creating a landed and a landless class. This is a normal step in the evolution of a country.
Page 16 - A more dynamic approach to the understanding of social change is therefore needed which stresses the interplay and mutual determination of 'internal' and 'external' factors and relationships,13 and which recognises the central role played by human action and consciousness.
Page 33 - Such a view of culture allows us to see individuals "not as automatons programmed according to 'cultural' rules or acting out social roles" but as people living their lives and, in the process, "wondering what they should do, making mistakes, being opinionated, vacillating, trying to make themselves look good, enduring tragic personal losses, enjoying others, and finding moments of laughter
Page 23 - The very practice of remembering against the grain of "public" or hegemonic history, of locating the silences and the struggle to assert knowledge which is outside the parameters of the dominant, suggests a rethinking of sociality itself.
Page 115 - ... and most thought in the social sciences, that there are underlying causes of social behaviour which are not fully in the conscious control of the actors. Over a period of time reglementary control can be only temporary, incomplete and its consequences not fully predictable. The study of reglementation is, therefore, one of partial orders and partial controls in the specific social contexts. "All should welcome it as a stimulating contribution that will help keep the ethnology of law a lively...
Page 33 - But the dailiness, in breaking coherence and introducing time, keeps us fixed on flux and contradiction. And the particulars suggest that others live as we perceive ourselves living, not as robots programmed with "cultural...
Page 9 - s argument that establishing "the criteria of what constitutes knowledge, what is to be excluded and who is designated as qualified to know involves acts of power" (1971; cited in Scoones and Thompson 1992, p.
Page 8 - This question, which today is apt to strike us as so natural, so self-evidently necessary, would have made no sense even a century ago. It is a peculiarity of our historical era that the idea of "development" is central to so much of our thinking about so much of the world. It seems to us today almost non-sensical to deny that there is such a thing as "development," or to dismiss it as a meaningless concept, just as it must have been virtually impossible to reject the concept "civilization" in the...

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About the author (2001)

Ritu Verma is a postgraduate in anthropology at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London, UK.

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