African Agrarian Systems: 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

African Agrarian Systems

1st Edition

Edited by Daniel Biebuyck


420 pages

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Originally published in 1963 this volume surveys various aspects of the complex relations between rights in land, social organization and economic interests in tropical Africa. The papers - in English and French but with summaries in the other language - analyse case studies illustrating the various basic factors and problems connected with land in Tropical Africa. Indigenous systems of tenure and their adaptation to commercial agriculture, the balance between rights and obligations of groups and individuals, and the authority and duties of chiefs and headmen are discussed in detail for many different areas. Against this background important contributions are made towards the better understanding of problems raised by economic and political development, population increase, migration and scarcity of land.

Table of Contents

Part 1: Introduction Daniel Biebuyck

1. Problèmes d'analyse et de terminologie

2. Tenure foncière et développements historiques

3. Droits foncers, pénurie et valorisation des terres

4. Tenure foncière et valeurs religieuses

5. Plans de développement et réformes foncières

6. English Summary

Part 2: Special Studies

1. Land Tenure Problems in Relation to Agricultural Development in the Norther Region of Nigeria

2. Systèmes de tenure foncière et problèmes fonciers au Congo

3. 'Land', 'Tenure' and Land-Tenure Paul Bohannan

4. Les rapports du système foncier Toucouleur et de l'organisation sociale et économique traditionelle. Leur évolution actuelle Jean-Louis Boutillier

5. Land Rights and Land Use among the Valley Tonga of the Rhodesian Federation: The Background to the Kariba Resettlement Programme Elizabeth Colson

6. Aspects politico-sociaux du système de tenure des terres des Luunda Septentrionaux Fernand Crine

7. Quelques aspects juridiques du problème foncier au Congo Jean P. Dufour

8. The Land Husbandry Act of Southern Rhodesia G. Kinglsey Garbett

9. Three Types of Southern Ghanaian Cocoa Farmer Polly Hill

10. Land Consolidation and Redistribution of Population in the Imenti Sub-Tribe of the Meru (Kenya) F. Derek Homan

11. Land as an Object of Gain in a Non-Literate Society. Land-Tenure Among the Bete and Dida (Ivory Coast, West Africa) André J. Köbben

12. Some Effects of the Introduction of Individual Freehold into Buganda Audrey I. Richards

13. La propriété foncière chez les Kongo du Nord-Ouest. Caractéristiques générales et évolution Marcel Soret

14. Développement du régime d'appropriation privée des terres de la palmerai du Sud-Dahomey Claude Tardits

15. Essai sur quelques problèmes relatifs au régime foncier des Diola de Basse-Casamance (Sénégal) Louis V. Thomas

16. Problèmes posés par l'introduction de nouveaux modes d'usage des terres chez les Zande vungara du Congo Belge Jacques Vanderlinden

17. Les régimes fonciers Ruanda et Kuba: une comparaison Jan Vansina

18. Factors Determining the Content of African Land-Tenure systems in Northern Rhodesia Charles M. N. White

19. Effects on the Xhosa and Nyakyusa of Scarcity of Land Monica Wilson

20. Problèmes sociaux posés par la transplantation des Mossi sur les teres irriguées de l'Office du Niger Dominique Zahan

About the Editor

Daniel Biebuyck

About the Series

African Ethnographic Studies of the 20th Century

Routledge is delighted to be re-issuing 79 volumes originally published between 1931 and 1988 in association with the International African Institute. Unavailable outside a few key libraries, many of these republished volumes were at the cutting edge of a fieldwork and ethnographic revolution in African anthropology in the decades after 1930. It involved the production of a wide body of fieldwork-based ethnographic documentation about the cultures of the different societies in Africa. Secondly, it saw a methodological turn to intense, localized investigations of cultural tradition and social change in a rapidly modernizing context. These investigations involved a more sustained and systematic, more professional and ‘scientific’ form of immersion and participant observation, than anything that had gone before. The sites of engagement were urban as well as rural; the pioneering researchers were female as well as male. No longer was the journal essay the repository of the latest research in the discipline, but rich ethnographies running into hundreds of pages.

The volumes are supplemented with maps, which will be available to view on or available as pdfs from the publishers.


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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Anthropology / General
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Regional Studies