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Title: Migrants, commuters and townsmen : aspects of urbanization in a small town in Kenya
Author: Lang, Brian
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 1975
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In order to make sense of the social processes taking place in Machakos, the township must be situated within two dimensions, the situational (or systemic) and the historical. The situational dimension refers to the systems of interaction beyond the township itself, of which Machakos is a component part, and the historical dimension to the factors which have shaped the growth of the town. The situational consists of the rural hinterland of Machakos as labour-supplying area and, more recently, producer of cash crops, and beyond to Kenya as a system of social, cultural and economic structures. The historical consists of factors both specific to Machakos, such as the actions of John Ainsworth and Ismail Ahmed, and general, formed byKenya as British colony and then independent nation of the Third World. We must avoid condemning urban anthropology to the fate which almost befell the urban sociology of Britain a few years ago, when it was suspected that because so much of British social life is urban, any consideration of urban life is merely 'sociology'. British urban sociologists have, however, come to appreciate that there are specific features of urban life amenable to study, significant for an understanding of how town and city life affect urban dwellers. It is suggested that the main feature of the urban system is the housing market, competition within which may be taken as a direct expression of the differential distribution of power in urban society and of wider aspects of social stratification. Transferred to the African scene, it may be that the job market may be treated in the same way, as an aspect of social life at its most extreme in towns, where the jobs are in greatest numbers and in greatest demand. Features of town life must, though, be related to the society of which the town is a part. The task of urban anthropology then, should be to explore the dynamics of social life as manifested in towns, and in doing so to meet Southall's expectation of anthropology in general - "to provide convincing accounts of what is happening to people in varied real life situations and to set these in a broader framework of time and space".
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available