The Peasant Cotton Revolution in West Africa: Cote d'Ivoire, 1880-1995

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The development of the cotton economy in West Africa is an African success story. This enduring agricultural revolution was brought about by tens of thousands of small-scale peasant farmers. Drawing on archival research, oral histories, and long-term fieldwork on the small farms of northern Ivory Coast, this book places the rural African actors center stage and brings out the complex and manifold ways in which they shaped farming systems and influenced the government policies that brought the cotton economy into being, and sustained it from the 1880s to the 1990s.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"A significant contribution to literature." African Sun Times

"Thomas Bassett, a distinguished American geographer well known in the field of development, tells an unusual story of the growth of the cotton economy of West Africa, where change was brought about by tens of thousands of small-scale peasant farmers...a significant contribution to the literature, the book demonstrates the need to consider the local and temporal dimensions of agricultureal innovations. It brings into question many key assumptions that have influenced development policies during the twentieth century." African Sun Times

"Bassett's book is clearly essential reading for those interested in development geography, political and cultural ecology, agrarian change, economic globalization, and African regional studies. Its theoretical and practical significance should make it a mainstay of class syllabi for many years to come." ANNALS of the Association of American Geographers

"As a geographer, Bassett has both the breadth and depth of background necessary to seek out and understand the complexities of the African village where he did extensive field work, of the professional literature, and of such agencies as the World Bank....This is an excellent study of an important but little-known topic." Choice

"...a little something for everyone." Business History Review

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521788830
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 6/1/2007
  • Series: African Studies Series, #101
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Pages: 268
  • Product dimensions: 5.98 (w) x 8.98 (h) x 0.59 (d)

Meet the Author

Thomas J. Bassett is Associate Professor of Geography at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. He is co-author of Land in African Agrarian Systems (1993) and Maps of Africa to 1900 (2000), and has been engaged in long-term field work in Côte d'Ivoire since 1981.

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Table of Contents

1. Introduction; 2. The collision of empires, 1880–1911; 3. The uncaptured corvée, 1912–46; 4. Repackaging cotton, 1947–63; 5. Making cotton work, 1964–84; 6. 'To sow or not to sow': the extensification of cotton, gender politics, and rural mobilization, 1985–95; 7. Conclusion; Appendix; Notes; Bibliography.

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