Disputing the Floodplains: Institutional Change and the Politics of Resource Management in African Wetlands

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African Floodplains in semi-arid areas are important for local livelihoods as they harbor many common-pool resources such as fisheries, pasture, wildlife, veldt products, water and land for irrigation. However, in many of these areas resources are under pressure. This book is presenting seven case studies from Mali, Cameroon, Tanzania, Zambia and Botswana based on anthropological fieldwork (2002-08) and explores how these common-pool resources have been managed in pre-colonial, colonial and postcolonial times. The major focus of the study is how institutional change has contributed to resource management problems and offers a comparative analysis based on the New Institutionalist approach (Jean Ensminger, Elinor Ostrom), which is combined with a special focus on ideology, discourse and narratives while focusing on conflict and power issues.

With a foreword by Elinor Ostrom.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
'Anthropologists and historians have written individual case studies that are of considerable value. Without serious efforts to compare historical case studies, however, it is difficult to obtain theoretical results that then can be tested by other scholars. The collection of papers in this book helps us understand resource management processes over time within multiple settings in five African countries. The focus is primarily on floodplain resources, but includes parallel resource problems related to fisheries and open pastures. Each of the chapters is well worth a serious read. Chapter Nine is a particularly valuable contribution to the study of institutional change. Haller provides an excellent synthesis of the work of the eight scholars who have contributed chapters in this book.'

Elinor Ostrom, Indiana University and Arizona State University

'This book is a useful addition to any African studies library because it lays out a rigorously detailed and persuasively argued model for environmental history and anthropology, [....] It is a very dry book about very wet places, but it establishes an analytical framework that will undoubtedly be useful for understanding the historical dynamics of African socialecological systems far beyond the wetlands'.

Michael Sheridan, Middlebury College
In: IJAHS Vol. 45, No. 1 (2012)

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9789004185326
  • Publisher: Brill Academic Publishers, Inc.
  • Publication date: 7/12/2010
  • Series: African Social Studies Series, #22
  • Pages: 454
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Tobias Haller, Ph.D. (2001) in Social Anthropology, University of Z├╝rich, is Associate Professor at the Institute of Social Anthropology, University of Bern, Switzerland, He has done fieldwork in Cameroon and Zambia and supervised research in many other African Countries. He has published on environmental and resource management issues (commons, protected areas, indigenous peoples and oil exploitation) and New Institutionalism in Africa with a comparative focus on other continents. His publications include Fossile Resources, Indigenous Peoples and Oil Companies (Lit-Publishers, Hamburg, London 2007) and People, Protected Areas and Global Change (NCCR Bern, 2008) and papers in journals such as Human Ecology, Environment and Development, Human Organisation, African Anthropologist, Food Policy, Journal of International Development.
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Table of Contents

List of Illustrations

List of Maps, Tables and Graphs



Chapter One Institutional Change, Power and Conflicts in the Management of Common-Pool Resources in African Floodplain Ecosystems: An Introduction Tobias Haller Haller, Tobias 1

Chapter Two Between Water Spirits and Market Forces: Institutional Changes in the Niger Inland Delta Fisheries among the Somono and Bozo Fishermen of Wandiaka and Daga-Womina (Mali) Karin Frei Frei, Karin 77

Chapter Three Tax Payments, Democracy and Rent-Seeking Administrators: Common-Pool Resource Management, Power Relations and Conflicts among the Kotoko, Musgum, Fulbe and Arab Choa in the Waza-Logone Floodplain (Cameroon) Gilbert Fokou Fokou, Gilbert 121

Chapter Four Lost Control, Legal Pluralism and Damming the Flood: Changing Institutions among the Musgum and Kotoko of the village Lahai in the Waza-Logone Floodplain (Cameroon) Gabriela Landolt Landolt, Gabriela 171

Chapter Five From Integrated Slope Management to Fragmented Use: Common-Pool Resources, Institutional Change, and Conflicts in Pangani River Basin, of Same District (Tanzania) Gimbage Mbeyale Mbeyale, Gimbage 195

Chapter Six Ujamaa-Policies, Open Access and Differential Collective Action: Common-Pool Resource Management, Institutional Change and Conflicts in the Rufiji Floodplain (Tanzania) Patrick Meroka Meroka, Patrick 245

Chapter Seven "We had cattle and did not fish and hunt anyhow!" Institutional Change and Contested Commons in the Kafue Flats Floodplain (Zambia) Sonja Merten Merten, Sonja 301

Chapter Eight Promise and Reality of Community Based Natural Resource Management in Botswana: Common-Pool Resource Use and Institutional Change in Ikoga, Okavango Delta (Panhandle) Roland Saum Saum, Roland 361

Chapter Nine Between Open Access, Privatisation and Collective Action: A Comparative Analysis of Institutional Change Governing Use of Common-Pool Resources in African Floodplains Tobias Haller Haller, Tobias 413

List of Contributors 445

Index 447

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