Download The State Must Be Our Master of Fire: How Peasants Craft by Dennis C. Galvan PDF

By Dennis C. Galvan

Over a number of centuries, the Serer of the Siin area of Senegal built a posh procedure of land tenure that led to a reliable rural society, efficient agriculture, and a well-managed environment. Dennis Galvan tells the tale of what occurred while French colonial rulers, and later the govt of the newly autonomous Senegal, imposed new structures of land tenure and cultivation at the Serer of Siin. Galvan's e-book is a painstaking and skillful post-mortem of ruinous Western-style "rational" monetary improvement coverage pressured upon a delicate, but self-sustaining, society. it's also a disquieting demonstration of the overall folly of such an process and an try and articulate a greater, extra delicate, and finally extra effective version for change-a version Galvan calls "institutional syncretism." Illustrations: nine line illustrations, three maps, 18 tables

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

Example text

The collapse of the wall in Berlin and the subsequent disintegration of the Soviet Union greatly enhanced the renewed importance of culture in at least two ways. First, the end of the Soviet empire solidified the importance of neoliberalism both as an analytic framework and as a development policy for the new independent states of the 1990s in eastern Europe and Central Asia. Like the old independent states of the 1960s in Africa and South Asia, today’s versions of the Central African Republic and Bangladesh have been instructed to establish parliamentary multiparty democracy, liberal market economies, and supporting legal infrastructure, social networks, and normative frameworks.

Figure 2 offers illustrations of an institutional organization (Western liberal democracy) and institutional practices (racism in the United States prior to the Civil Rights era) mapped onto the schematic of figure 1. Institutional organizations constrain and pattern social behavior largely through administrative hierarchies and formal rules. But in spite of their superstructural primacy, institutional organizations garner compliance through a meaningful correspondence with informal rules, habits, and values.

The Siin, situated in the south-central part of Senegal’s old Peanut Basin, is a densely populated area only a half day’s drive from the capital, yet it has long been considered the home of some of the most “traditional peasants” in the old French African empire. As in any case study, we are confronted early on with a number of fundamental questions. Who are these Serer? What is this Siin? Why explore institutional syncretism in this corner of rural Senegal and not somewhere else? This chapter answers these and related questions about case selection and provides historical and ethnographic background on the people at the center of this project, the Serer of the Siin region of west-central Senegal.

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