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Rural development policies and anthropology in sub-Saharan Africa



ID: <fIbyIRVhOG5_bNio8GzVK>


AbstractThis article discusses the place of anthropology in rural development policies in sub-Saharan Africa from the colonial period to the present days.  Emphasis is placed on the very minor role played by the anthropologists, even when they worked for the colonial Government in working out and implementing policies to develop agriculture and livestock.  It shows how and why since the colonial period agricultural practices (tillage, plowing implements, etc.) and pastoral ones (cattle fetishism) have been misunderstood and the subject of depreciating judgments.  The slow emergence of a development anthropology making it its aim to consider simultaneously “developers” and “developed people” is then analyzed in France and in the Anglo-Saxon world. Afterwards, the author—in a chapter entitled “irrigated rice in the North of Cameroon or how to make the others happy in spite of themselves”—develops his personal experience with an emphasis on unproductive misunderstandings between anthropologists and developers.  A conclusion resolutely meant to be optimistic, plans new possibilities for social and exact sciences to collaborate.

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