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Title: Medicine, money and masquerade : women, collecting and rural development in The Gambia
Author: Madge, Clare
ISNI:       0000 0004 2715 291X
Awarding Body: University of Birmingham
Current Institution: University of Birmingham
Date of Award: 1991
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This thesis assesses development theory by investigating the role of collecting to rural Gambians. Theories of development are based on the implicit acceptance of models of evolutionary development of society. Such models assume that societal development is linear, societies 'developing' from hunting and gathering (collecting) to farming to urban industrial modes of production as they ascend the 'evolutionary ladder'. Each stage is assumed to be distinct and not to overlap with the preceding or following stage. This thesis disputes such a model by revealing the vital importance of collecting to a so-called agricultural community in The Gambia. Research in Africa has hitherto concentrated on the farming system and cultivated crops and there is a large research gap concerning work on the collecting system and wild indigenous plant and animal species. Collecting is significantly more important than hitherto realized, suggesting that evolutionary models, and therefore theories on which development are based, are not only inaccurate but also potentially damaging. Collecting is only one aspect of rural individuals' adaptive survival strategies, interacting through time and space with farming and domestic activities. The importance of collecting is shown in this thesis, not only in subsistence terms to overcome seasonal stress both within and between years, but also as a vital component to the income-formation strategy of rural individuals and cosmology of socio-cultural life. Through an interdisciplinary approach this work attempts to dispel artificial boundaries placed on previous research in Africa. Since women are involved in collecting this thesis also contributes to the debate on gender and, through a methodology based on the individual, shows the importance of obtaining a differentiated view of women at both inter- and intra-household levels.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available