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Labour and landscapes: The political economy of landesque capital in 19th century Tanganyika.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Human Geography. (Historisk geografi och landskapsstudier)ORCID iD: 0000-0002-3322-7848
2007 (English)In: Geografiska Annaler Ser B, Human Geography, Vol. 89B, no 3, 233-248 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

In a long-term and global perspective irrigated and terraced landscapes, landesque capital, have often been assumed to be closely associated with hierarchical political systems. However, research is accumulating that shows how kinship-based societies (including small chiefdoms) have also been responsible for constructing landesque capital without population pressure. We examine the political economy of landesque capital through the intersections of decentralized politics and regional economies. A crucial question guiding our research is why some kinship based societies chose to invest their labour in landesque capital while others did not. Our analysis is based on a detailed examination of four relatively densely populated communities in late precolonial and early colonial Tanzania. By analysing labour processes as contingent and separate from political types of generalized economic systems over time we can identify the causal factors that direct labour and thus landscape formation as a process. The general conclusion of our investigation is that landesque investments occurred in cases where agriculture was the main source of long-term wealth flow irrespective of whether or not hierarchical political systems were present. However, while this factor may be a necessary condition it is not a sufficient cause. In the cases we examined the configurations of world-systems connections and local social and economic circumstances combined to either produce investments in landesque capital or to pursue short-term strategies of extraction.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2007. Vol. 89B, no 3, 233-248 p.
National Category
Human Geography Social Anthropology
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-18973ISI: 000248915400004OAI: diva2:185496
Available from: 2007-08-27 Created: 2007-08-27 Last updated: 2015-01-23Bibliographically approved

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Widgren, Mats
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