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Title: Fields of struggle : towards a social history of farming knowledge and practice in a Bwisha community, Kivu, Zaire.
Author: Fairhead, James Robert.
Awarding Body: School of Oriental and African Studies (University of London)
Current Institution: SOAS, University of London
Date of Award: 1990
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The changing social organisation and practice of African agriculture, and the elucidation of 'indigenous technical knowledge' (ITK) are both research priorities but are usually examined separately. This thesis shows why ITK should be understood within the historically changing social relations of its production and expression. Inversely, it shows why an investigation of the history of ITK improves analyses of changing social organisation. The study is based on social anthropological fieldwork in a Bwisha community in Kivu, Eastern Zaire. Chapter one examines various problems in the elucidation and representation of ITK. Chapter two reviews social organisation in Bwisha. Subsequent chapters focus on the several different histories which together constitute the changing relations of production of ITK in Bwisha. Chapters three and four examine political economic forms. Land access and inter-household relations are explored in chapter five, and intra-household relations are explored in chapter six. Chapter seven focuses in on food provisioning possibilities, and chapter eight on strategies of crop and soil fertility management. Each of these histories is the site of specific struggles. Chapter nine examines how these struggles interrelate, how together they constitute the relations of production of local knowledge and hence how they shape the product. Agricultural knowledge is found to be intimately related to local understandings of task, hierarchical and gender identities, the nature of power and social organisational form. Changes in farming knowledge respond to changes in these and vice versa. The conclusion elaborates on this point. To say that farming is socio-politically embedded does not go far enough.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Indigenous technical knowledge; Africa Anthropology Folklore Agriculture