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Morality and Economic Growth in Rural West Africa: Indigenous Accumulation in Hausaland

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Morality and Economic Growth in Rural West Africa

Indigenous Accumulation in Hausaland

Paul Clough†

468 pages, 28 illus., 113 tables, bibliog., index

ISBN  978-1-78238-270-6 $135.00/£99.00 Hb Published (June 2014)

eISBN 978-1-78238-271-3 eBook

Hb View cartYour country: United States - Click here to remove geolocation   Buy the eBook from these vendors Request a Review or Examination Copy (in Digital Format) Recommend to your Library Available in GOBI®


“Clough's large and data-packed book… is directly contesting a truism of contemporary economics and politics, that there is only one way to do markets and that Western-style capitalism will and must sweep all other ways of conducting market behavior before it… One of the most fascinating points that Clough makes is the impact of Islam on labor relations…” · Anthropology Review Database

“This is a remarkable book…The field work is of extraordinary richness. It studies … the core aspects of any rural economy, indeed of any economy: land, labour, credit, markets, investment, inequalities, accumulation… The study is meticulous in its attention to detail and sensitive to the people whom he is studying. The statistical material is richer, more extensive, better grounded, and thus more accurate in its measurements than in any other West African study of which I am aware. The concept which binds the study, ‘non-capitalist accumulation’, is distinctive and original and will make a new and valuable contribution to future research of rural societies.” · Gavin Williams, Oxford University

“The [author’s] period of fieldwork results in an amazingly dense description of economic processes. Quantitative and qualitative data is analysed and presented in a fascinating manner. The chapters on money lending, on labour relations and on trade I rate superb… the theoretical analysis and modeling is highly significant and important.” · Michael Bollig, University of Cologne


The land, labor, credit, and trading institutions of Marmara village, in Hausaland, northern Nigeria, are detailed in this study through fieldwork conducted in two national economic cycles - the petroleum-boom prosperity (in 1977-1979), and the macro-economic decline (in 1985, 1996 and 1998). The book unveils a new paradigm of economic change in the West African savannah, demonstrating how rural accumulation in a polygynous society actually limits the extent of inequality while at the same time promoting technical change.  A uniquely African non-capitalist trajectory of accumulation subordinates the acquisition of capital to the expansion of polygynous families, clientage networks, and circles of trading friends.  The whole trajectory is driven by an indigenous ethics of personal responsibility. This model disputes the validity of both Marxian theories of capitalist transformation in Africa and the New Institutional Economics.

Paul Clough was Associate Professor of Anthropology at the University of Malta. His D.Phil. from Oxford University was runner-up for the Audrey Richards Prize in 1996, awarded by the International African Institute every two years for the best thesis in any branch of African studies.

Subject: Anthropology (General)
Area: Africa


List of Maps, Tables, Charts and Figures

Introduction: Methods of Fieldwork and Analysis

Chapter 1. An Introduction to the Political Economy and Culture of Marmara Hamlet
Chapter 2. The Cultural Logic of Non-Capitalist Accumulation
Chapter 3. Land Distribution and Land Transfers
Chapter 4. Farm Labouring Systems
Chapter 5. Credit Relations and Social Consumption
Chapter 6. Inter-regional Produce Markets
Chapter 7. Rural Produce Traders and Wealth Acquisition
Chapter 8. Economic Change from 1985 to 1998
Chapter 9. Change, Continuity – and Growth

Appendix I: Basic Information on Household Heads, Marmara, 1979
Appendix II: Innovation, Agricultural Extension and Yields
Appendix III: All Landholding Household Heads Grouped by Labour Practices During the Weeding Operation, 1978
Appendix IV: Household Consumption of Food Grain and Soup Ingredients` (Cefane)
Appendix V: Trading Purchases, Sales and Margins of `M`, 1978
Appendix VI: Land Sales and Labour Use, Marmara, 1978 and 1979

Glossary of Key Hausa Words in the Text

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