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Vaughan, Megan Anne (1981) Social and Economic Change in Southern Malawi: A Study of Rural Communities in the Shire Highlands and Upper Shire Valley From the Mid-Nineteenth Century to 1915. PhD thesis. SOAS University of London. DOI:

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This study of rural economic and social change in a small area of Southern Malawi begins by examining the nature of society and production there in the early nineteenth century and the changes wrought by immigration into the area and by increasing involvement in long-distance trading. It then goes on to examine the nature of the early colonial economy, the structural ambiguities of which affected the lives of Africans in different parts of the country in diverse ways. Two separate geographical areas are then dealt with in detail. The study traces the effects on societies in the Shire Highlands of the dislocations of the late nineteenth century, and the development of an estate economy in the early twentieth century. The demands of the latter for land and labour gave rise to a number of changes in the structure of African production in the area, including the adoption of new food crops and the intensification of female labour. In the Upper Shire Valley and on the Chilwa plain a wide variety of economic structures emerged in the early twentieth century, some showing more continuity with the the nineteenth century than others. The effects of colonial economic policies were less clear-cut here, ranging from the establishment of a peasant cotton industry, to the development of a labour tenancy system similar to that found on the Highlands. The final chapter deals with these diverse changes thematically by examining changes in agricultural production within the African societies here, changes in kinship, family and 'tribal' structures, and finally the changing nature of economic and social stratification.

Item Type: Theses (PhD)
SOAS Departments & Centres: SOAS Research Theses > Proquest
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 12 Oct 2020 17:19

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