The Peasant Cotton Revolution in West Africa: Cote D'Ivoire, 1880-1995 (African Studies)

The Peasant Cotton Revolution in West Africa: Cote D'Ivoire, 1880-1995 (African Studies)

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Thomas J. Bassett
Cambridge University Press, 3/29/2001
EAN 9780521783132, ISBN10: 0521783135

Hardcover, 266 pages, 22.9 x 15.2 x 1.6 cm
Language: English

The literature of Africa is dominated by accounts of crisis and gloom. But Thomas Bassett, a distinguished American geographer well known in the field of development, tells an unusual story of the growth of the cotton economy of West Africa. One of the few long-running success stories in African development, change was brought about by tens of thousands of small-scale peasant farmers. While the introduction of new strains of cotton in French West Africa was in part a result of agronomic research by French scientists, supported by an unusually efficient marketing structure, this is not a case of triumphant top-down 'planification'. Employing the case of Côte d'Ivoire, Professor Bassett shows agricultural intensification to result from the cumulative effect of decades of incremental changes in farming techniques and social organization. A significant contribution to the literature, the book demonstrates the need to consider the local and temporal dimensions of agricultural innovations. It brings into question many key assumptions that have influenced development policies during the twentieth century.

1. Introduction
2. The collision of empires, 1880–1911
3. The uncaptured corvée, 1912–46
4. Repackaging cotton, 1947–63
5. Making cotton work, 1964–84
6. 'To sow or not to sow'
the extensification of cotton, gender politics, and rural mobilization, 1985–95
7. Conclusion

‘The principal merit of Bassett is to have been able to reconstruct a history of the agriculture and the development of the Ivory Coast and of West Africa drawing from the interaction of the main actors in cotton production and the cotton market.’ Journal of Development Studies

‘… the case Bassett develops is compelling …’. African Studies Review

‘This is a good book that deserves to be widely read … highly informative book …’. Development and Change