Contents

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p. ix

Illustrations and Map

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p. xi

Tables

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p. xiii

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Acknowledgments

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pp. xv-xvi

Many institutions and individuals have helped to bring this book to completion. I am indebted to the Social Science Research Council and the American Council of Learned Societies for a fellowship which allowed me to collect data in Belgium and Zaire. The Graduate School of the University of Minnesota provided support during the writing of the dissertation which led to this book. The Frederick...

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Introduction

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pp. 3-11

In the past two decades, researchers have increasingly focused on the poverty and distorted rural economics of African nations. The recognition that African nations are unable to feed themselves has led social scientists to examine the historical roots of this crippled peasant social existence. Some scholars attribute the contemporary African food crises to the destruction of "natural economies," which...

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Chapter 1 The Organization of Production: The Cotton Labor Process

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pp. 12-44

Cotton cultivation in colonial Zaire depended on control over producers and regulation of their access to land and technology, particularly at the household level. Land was abundant in colonial Zaire but producers were not. Although between 1891 and 1908 the state and different capitalist sectors had appropriated much of the native land through the grant of concessions and a ban on productive activity...

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Chapter 2 Forced Cotton Production and Social Control

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pp. 45-70

In the past two decades, researchers have demonstrated the extent to which growing crops under colonialism was based on policies and practices that resulted in extreme brutalization of local populations.1 Whatever role the African police, state-appointed chiefs, and colonial armies had in forcing peasants to follow agricultural instructions, they were...

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Chapter 3 Sharing the Social Product: Peasants and the Market

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pp. 71-89

Fighting nudity and staving off the poverty of African peasants were, in colonial rhetoric, the two major moral claims for the imposition of cotton production in the Belgian Congo beginning as early as 1917. However, African producers to this day still say that cultivating cotton did not generate a flow of resources into their households. In reality, peasants...

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Chapter 4 Cotton and Social Inequality

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pp. 90-107

In the past two decades, researchers have moved away from the conception of the peasantry as a homogeneous and undifferentiated group. Most researchers agree that African peasants included both exploiters and exploited. From Mozambican data, Isaacman has demonstrated that social differentiation took place between chiefs and cotton producers as well as among peasants themselves. Concerning...

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Chapter 5 The Infrapolitics of the Cotton Cultivators

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pp. 108-134

The African initiative literature of the 1960s and 1970s paid attention to large-scale social movements, including open rebellions, social banditry, and religious movements, which negated the reality of colonialism as well as the connection of these movements to nationalism.1 These forms of struggles, however, were only one facet of peasant political behavior. Because these forms of rural struggle were...

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Conclusion

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pp. 135-139

The foregoing chapters have examined the cotton labor process, the effect of commodity production on rural life, and the ways in which men and women coped with and struggled against forced cotton cultivation. The imposition of cotton cultivation in 1917 constituted a landmark in the history of Zairian rural communities because the expansion of cotton cultivation changed the...

Notes

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pp. 143-166

Selected Bibliography

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pp. 167-182

Index

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pp. 183-189