STRUCTURES OF CONTROL AND POWER AND THE IMPLICATIONS FOR SOCIAL CHANGE IN A WESTERN
paper focuses on the interaction between the structures, belief systems,
practices and epistemological claims of Bamunka and the dialectics of the
regional and national political economies. These institutions are instrumental
in shaping the pattern, direction and extent of the gender and social relations
which are products of a specific political, economic and social history.
main objective is to examine the systematic interaction between the customary
systems of Bamunka and the national bureaucracy. Comparative observations and
historico-anthropological sources for the Ndop Plain will be used and, by
extension, those four other Western Grassfields chiefdoms.
paper also seeks to show how this coexistence provides opportunities and
constraints to both genders, and to specific social groups of women. The claim
is that an analysis of who benefits or who does not from these structures
depends on specific circumstances, an actor's gender, social status,
access to old and new resources, and increasingly their achievements. The main
argument is that an understanding of the ways in which power relationships
change must include the dimension of gender.
structural changes including increasing specialisation and commoditization of
land, labour, agricultural products and symbolic capital are occurring,
nonetheless, big men are not relinquishing claims to customary rights (e.g.
titles and status), co-operation and even domination through kinship, gender
divisions and power relations.
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