Cattle, Capitalism, Class

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August 1992



Focusing on the Ilparakuyo Maasai of Kenya and Tanzania, Peter Rigby discusses why third world development policies with regard to pastoral societies are inappropriate and likely to fail. A political economy of development, maintains Rigby, must incorporate historical, cultural, linguistic, and even aesthetic dimensions of the peoples involved. Using ethnography and other research materials, the author illuminates the culture and explores the prospects of a distinct section of pastoral Maasai (the Ilparakuyo). In addition, he attempts to develop a historical materialist theory of language in relation to a specific East African culture. While rural development is a priority in many recently independent third world countries, it is often not designed for the benefit of the producer, as when food products are exported rather than used for domestic consumption. Although much information is available about pastoral societies - herd size, grazing areas, livestock holdings between families - the cultures, languages, and aspirations of such societies are often overlooked by development planners. Rigby describes how government expectations should be based on such social conditions. Adopting an African perspective derived from a dialogue with African philosophical discourse, Rigby analyzes the language customs of the people he lived with to chronicle the changes forced upon the Maasai by both colonial and post-colonial governments. The book features more than a dozen photos that portray a juxtaposition of tradition and modern development in local communities. The Maasai have been victims of land expropriation, unnatural division by international boundaries, forcible interference with theircustoms and rituals, and marginalization by developing governments. Despite this incessant onslaught and the formation of classes in a hitherto classless society, the Maasai have managed to a great degree to preserve their culture and way of thinking. Rigby urges a revolution in


Photographs Figures and Sketch Maps Preface Acknowledgments
1. Introduction
2. The "Last of the Maasai": Self-Fulfilling Prophecy or Frustrated Death Wish?
3. Class Formation in Historical Perspective
4. Ideology, Religion, and Capitalist Penetration
5. Pastoralism, Egalitarianism, and the State
6. Some Ilparakuyo Views of Peripheral Capitalism
7. The Dynamics of Contemporary Class Formation
8. Ilparakuyo Maasai Transformations: African Episteme and Marxian Problematic Appendix Notes Bibliography Index


"...a first-class project which brings a lot to debates going on in African studies about Ilparakuyo Maasai. This is a highly original contribution." --V.Y. Mudimbe, Duke University "The writing is lucid, concepts sophisticated, and the conclusions fully in accord with the material presented... There is real brilliance throughout, a rare trait in these days... I believe it will have a wide readership in the field, eventually becoming a classic." --Stanley Diamond, Professor of Anthropology, New School for Social Research
EAN: 9780877229544
ISBN: 0877229546
Untertitel: New. Sprache: Englisch.
Erscheinungsdatum: August 1992
Seitenanzahl: 247 Seiten
Format: gebunden
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