The State Must Be Our Master of Fire: How Peasants Craft Culturally Sustainable Development in Senegal

The State Must Be Our Master of Fire: How Peasants Craft Culturally Sustainable Development in Senegal

by Dennis C. Galvan


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Over several centuries, the Serer of the Siin region of Senegal developed a complex system of land tenure that resulted in a stable rural society, productive agriculture, and a well-managed ecosystem. Dennis Galvan tells the story of what happened when French colonial rulers, and later the government of the newly independent Senegal, imposed new systems of land tenure and cultivation on the Serer of Siin. Galvan's book is a painstaking and skillful autopsy of ruinous Western-style "rational" economic development policy forced upon a fragile, yet self-sustaining, society. It is also a disquieting demonstration of the general folly of such an approach and an attempt to articulate a better, more sensitive, and ultimately more productive model for change—a model Galvan calls "institutional syncretism."

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780520227781
Publisher: University of California Press
Publication date: 06/17/2004
Pages: 331
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x (d)
Lexile: 1630L (what's this?)

About the Author

Dennis C. Galvan is Associate Professor of Political Science and
International Studies at the University of Oregon.

Table of Contents

1."Buying Rope Is a Young Man's Job": Transformations of Culture and Institutions1
2.The Serer of Siin: "Le type meme du paysan africain"33
3."Tradition" in the Siin: Contested and Enmeshing72
4.Land Pawning as a Response to the Standardization of Tenure104
Transitions: The Siin Reordered125
5.Two Romanticizations: Tenure Confusion after the National Domain Law131
6."The King Has Come--Now Everything Is Ruined": The Promise and Frustration of Syncretic Rural Democracy164
7.Culturally Sustainable Development209

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