Groups of Mutual Assistance: Feminine and Masculine Work among Agriculturalists along the Juba River

The author examines Italian colonial and postcolonial literature relating to labour activities among Somali agriculturalists. Her point is that some narrative strategies in written Italian colonial reports seem to highlight the Italian identity of the colonizers and leave little space for clear information about the local people described in them. What is most alarming about this is that the data contained in these reports originally resulted from agricultural policies implemented in a few Somali areas; the knowledge thus gained formed the basis of new, national, agricultural policies. The correspondence between the prejudices contained in the reports and the resultant policies was mutually reinforced by the interplay between the two, especially with regard to the sexual division of labour. This was particularly the case for the cultivable area bordering the Juba River (southern Somalia), where women’s role in the local economy was completely misunderstood and ignored. Special attention is given to men’s and women’s mutual assistance associations. Fieldwork was carried out among agriculturalists living in the surroundings of Jilib and Jamame along the Juba River in three phases during the period 1985-1988. Bibliogr., notes, ref.

Title: Groups of Mutual Assistance: Feminine and Masculine Work among Agriculturalists along the Juba River
Author: Declich, Francesca
Year: 1997
Periodical: Northeast African Studies
Volume: 4
Issue: 3
Pages: 77-89
Language: English
Geographic terms: Somalia
Italy
External link: http://muse.jhu.edu/journals/northeast_african_studies/v004/4.3.declich.pdf
Abstract: The author examines Italian colonial and postcolonial literature relating to labour activities among Somali agriculturalists. Her point is that some narrative strategies in written Italian colonial reports seem to highlight the Italian identity of the colonizers and leave little space for clear information about the local people described in them. What is most alarming about this is that the data contained in these reports originally resulted from agricultural policies implemented in a few Somali areas; the knowledge thus gained formed the basis of new, national, agricultural policies. The correspondence between the prejudices contained in the reports and the resultant policies was mutually reinforced by the interplay between the two, especially with regard to the sexual division of labour. This was particularly the case for the cultivable area bordering the Juba River (southern Somalia), where women’s role in the local economy was completely misunderstood and ignored. Special attention is given to men’s and women’s mutual assistance associations. Fieldwork was carried out among agriculturalists living in the surroundings of Jilib and Jamame along the Juba River in three phases during the period 1985-1988. Bibliogr., notes, ref.