This anthropological study of hoe-farming in West Africa outlines the cultural meanings involved in working the land and rearing/raising society. Unlike other studies which usually focus on the kin-group as the basic social unit, this piece of work considers the house society or community as the most appropriate focus by which the Dagara people themselves tend to structure their society and to work out their social relationship including cultural practices of different kinds. With many ethnographic details, the study shows how much the house figure functions as a physical and social institution in Dagara mode of thinking and also in the imagination including the intellectual sphere as an important concept. Therefore, the author sees hoe-farming and the figure of the house as linked themes which have to be jointly studied. Considered as such, the study uses them to outline Dagara mode of thinking about themselves and what they do in terms of social relations.
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Alexis B. Tengan has been for some time associated with the Catholic University of Louvain where he obtained his Ph.D. in Social and Cultural Anthropology and with Lumen Vitae Institute in Brussels where he has continued to teach a course on Rites of Initiation in Traditional and Modern Socieites. Besides now working as an independent scholar, he teaches Religious Education at St John's International School. His current research interests include mythology, initiation rituals, religion and society, ritual literature, and cultural and development studies.
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