Chiefs Know Their Boundaries (Social History of Africa)

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9780325070025: Chiefs Know Their Boundaries (Social History of Africa)
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Using a series of local episodes and case histories, the essays in this volume explore changes and continuities in the ways people have made and exercised claims on land in Asante, Ghana, during the colonial and postcolonial periods. Convinced that customary rules and rulers provided a stable foundation for colonial rule, British officials decided early on that ownership of the land was vested in Asante chiefs. As land values rose, due to urban expansion and the growth of commercial agriculture, mining, and timber, struggles intensified not only over land and land-based income, but also over the meaning of "custom" and its relevance to the colonial order. As claims on land multiplied, so too did debates over the scope of chiefly authority and jurisdiction, and the meaning of historical precedents for contemporary claims to land and office. Although postcolonial Ghanaian governments have legislated sweeping reductions in the scope of chiefly authority and customary law, most land in Asante remains subject to multiple, overlapping claims and continued debate.

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About the Author:

SARA S. BERRY is Professor of History and Anthropology at Johns Hopkins University and the author of several books, including Fathers Work for their Sons, winner of the 1985 Herskovits Award. Her most recent book is No Condition is Permanent: The Social Dynamics of Agrarian Change in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Review:

... a fascinating study of Africa's legal, political and economic modernity ... a rich enquiry into the ways in which the constant re-interpretation of history is crucial to a definition of what constitutes ownership of land. And since the issues of land tenure and entitlement are at the heart of the relationship between wealth and power, in Africa as elsewhere, this discussion casts a revealing light on the relevance of tradition to modernization of the continent. It also brings to the fore the vexed subject of continued significance of customary authority, especially local chiefs, within a political framework that has no constitutionally relevant place for them. - Patrick Chabal in INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS

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Other Popular Editions of the Same Title

9780852556443: Chiefs Know their Boundaries: Essays on Property, Power and the Past in Asante, 1896-1996 (Social History of Africa)

Featured Edition

ISBN 10:  0852556446 ISBN 13:  9780852556443
Publisher: James Currey, 2001
Softcover

9780852556948: Chiefs Know Their Boundaries: Essays on Property, Power and the Past in Asante, 1896-1996 (Social History of Africa)

James ..., 2001
Hardcover

9780325070032: Chiefs Know Their Boundaries (Social History of Africa)

Heinemann, 2000
Hardcover

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