Staff Publications

Staff Publications

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    'Staff publications' is the digital repository of Wageningen University & Research

    'Staff publications' contains references to publications authored by Wageningen University staff from 1976 onward.

    Publications authored by the staff of the Research Institutes are available from 1995 onwards.

    Full text documents are added when available. The database is updated daily and currently holds about 240,000 items, of which 72,000 in open access.

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Record number 405971
Title Peasant grievance and insurgencyin sierra leone: judicial serfdom as a driver of conflict
Author(s) Mokuwa, E.; Voors, M.J.; Bulte, E.H.; Richards, P.
Source African Affairs 110 (2011)440. - ISSN 0001-9909 - p. 339 - 366.
Department(s) Development Economics Group
Technology and Agrarian Development
Publication type Refereed Article in a scientific journal
Publication year 2011
Abstract Was the civil war in Sierra Leone (1991–2002) fought for diamonds, or was it a peasant insurgency motivated by agrarian grievances? The evidence on both sides is less than conclusive. This article scrutinizes the peasant insurgency argument via a more rigorous methodology. Hypotheses concerning intra-peasant tensions over marriage and farm labour are derived from an examination of the anthropological literature. These are tested using econometric tools, applied to data from a randomized survey of 2,239 households in 178 villages surrounding the Gola Forest in eastern and southern Sierra Leone, the cradle of the war. It is shown that a decade after the war ended peasant disputes over marriage continue to mark out an incipient class divide in isolated rural communities, as evidenced by cases presented in local courts and family moots. Disputes mainly involve a village elder suing a young man with weak social protection. Fines are exceptionally high, and mostly paid off in the form of coerced farm labour. It is argued that grievance over this long-standing form of labour exploitation fed insurgency, and contributed to the otherwise puzzlingly high levels of peasant-upon-peasant violence associated with the war in Sierra Leone.
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