Eroding the Commons
Title Details

320 Pages

21.6 x 13.8 cm

32 b/w, 11 line illus.

Series: Eastern African Studies

Imprint: James Currey

Eroding the Commons

The Politics of Ecology in Baringo, Kenya 1890s-1963

by David M. Anderson

  • Description
  • Reviews
Understanding colonial ideologies is central to understanding development across Africa.
Colonial Baringo was in many respects an unexceptional place, a backwater in the semi-arid Rift Valley of Kenya, lacking in cash crops and distant from larger markets. But in the middle years of colonial rule Baringo's anonymity gave way to notoriety. Prolonged drought and localized famine in the district from the mid-1920s led to claims that Baringo was a land of dramatic decay, brought on by overcrowding and livestock mismanagement. In response to the alarm over erosion, the state embarked upon a programme for rehabilitation, conservation and development.
Baringo's experience became a point of reference for similar programmes elsewhere in British Africa, especially in the 1950s when state-led rural development encompassed not just economic growth but an accelerated transformation of African society. The politics of African nationalism was fuelled by opposition to colonial development policies, and inBaringo the politics of the nationalist era was the politics of ecology. The longevity of colonial interventions in Baringo provides an excellent focus for the study of the broader evolution of colonial ideologies and practices of development. These ideologies and practices are fundamental to an understanding of the history of development in all parts of Africa.

North America: Ohio U Press; Kenya: EAEP
"...an exceptional study... one of a handful of such studies that have important things to say to wider non-specialist audiences: to historians of empire interested in the commonalities of a world-wide imperial project; and to those in the development community who accept that, if rural development is to have a future, its past must be fully acknowledged and understood...Eroding the Commons challenges historians' as well as developers' narratives by confronting us with complexity. Officials and settlers were mostly reluctant oppressors and the Tuken were not the inept pastoralists that the narrative insisted that they must be. There were and are no easy answers to development, in Baringo or elsewhere, but there is now a clear, informed and thoughtful account of its history." Richard Waller, INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF AFRICAN HISTORICAL STUDIES
"This volume will be an important addition to the literature of East African pastoral peoples and is accessible to the specialist and nonspecialist alike." J. Terrence McCabe, ANTHROPOS
"Cette monographie du district de Baringo au Kenya, centree sur la periode coloniale, est issue du travail de these de D. M. Anderson, realise au debut des annees 1980, complete et precise au cours des vingt annees qui ont suivi. Au-dela de l'interet porte a une discipline (histoire) ou a cette partie du continent africain (l'Afrique de l'Est), les themes abordes par cet ouvrage meritent de retenir toute l'attention de ceux qui s'interrogent sur les politiques de developpement et de preservation de l'environnement." POLITIQUE AFRICAINE

Paperback

9780852554685

October 2002

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Title Details

320 Pages

2.16 x 1.38 cm

32 b/w, 11 line illus.

Series: Eastern African Studies

Imprint: James Currey