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Becker, Laurence C. (1989) Conflict and complementarity in Bamana farming: A case study of Soro, Mali. PhD thesis. SOAS University of London. DOI:

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This thesis analyses the conflict and complementarity of farmers' household labour organisation and land use patterns in a village case study of Bamana farming in Mali. Taking the household as the basic production organising unit, three themes in peasant agriculture are investigated: 1) the types of fields managed and worked by different household members, 2) the agro-ecology of the farming system, and 3) the balance of subsistence and commodity production goals. These human-land relations within a capital-poor peasant farming system are central to the development problems faced by a country with a national economy dominated by peasant agriculture. Drawing from an intensive study of a village 45 km from Bamako, data on all of the village's household and individual fields were collected to determine the characteristics of the fields and the relationship between the fields and the farming system. A combination of interviewing techniques and regular observations provided most of the raw data, which were supplemented with archival research and secondary source material. Within the farming system today, household heads have the greatest access to land and labour. For them, non-household production units are complementary only to the extent that they support the reproduction of the household as the first priority in agriculture. The personal fields of household subdivisions, often ignored in the literature on farming systems, compete for labour with the household labour group and therefore add a degree of potential tension to the farming system. The thesis concludes that in the case study village farmers have developed commodity production to complement subsistence production. Subdivisions of household labour groups produce fuelwood and market garden crops during time and in locations that do not directly conflict with household grain production. However, this apparent complementarity within a system of unequal access to land and labour is not without contradictions. These contradictions define some of the constraints on production at the level of intra-household farming relations.

Item Type: Theses (PhD)
SOAS Departments & Centres: SOAS Research Theses > Proquest
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 16 Oct 2018 15:14

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