Abstract/Details

Response to innovation in a Zarma village: Contemporary tradition in Niger, West Africa


1991 1991

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Abstract (summary)

This study of the small farming community of Boula, Niger and the government sponsored agriculture training center Centre de Perfectionement Technique located adjacent to the village has two objectives: to present an ethnographic account of everyday life of the Zarma speaking inhabitants and to examine the responses within that settlement to some of the many innovative forces to which the inhabitants have been exposed.

The methodology is that of participant observation supplemented by informal interviews. The paradigm of cultural materialism provides the framework for organizing the etic data, the emic data is enhanced by utilizing the concept of tradition as process.

The Zarma occupy a highly visible place in modern Niger. However they are only minimally represented in the ethnographic literature. This account contributes to filling that void by describing one of the rural settlements in which most of the Zarma reside.

Geographic conditions in the Sahel region place severe restriction on agricultural possibilities. Using hand held tools, the Zarma horticulturalists grow primarily millet and sorghum, plus small quantities of vegetables in kitchen gardens.

Although seemingly isolated from easy contact with influences beyond its subsistence oriented lifestyle, in reality the residents are exposed to a wide variety of innovative forces. Many new ideas and products reach the villagers thru simple exposure to the world about them. Others are the result of changes planned and put into operation by outside agencies, particularly those sponsored by the government.

The villagers acceptance or rejection of such innovation appears to depend on whether they perceive the new possibilities are adjustive or adaptive. Adjustments create a better fit in an already familiar life. Adaptations move to radically alter the societal pattern by introducing new modes for extricating energy for the environmental setting. Although the motivation for acceptance may be either conscious or unconscious, adaptive innovations, are less willingly received unless the changes they entail are already viewed as worthwhile by the population.

Indexing (details)


Subject
Agricultural education;
Cultural anthropology;
Social studies education
Classification
0517: Agricultural education
0326: Cultural anthropology
0534: Social studies education
Identifier / keyword
Social sciences; Education
Title
Response to innovation in a Zarma village: Contemporary tradition in Niger, West Africa
Author
Davis, Richard Eugene
Number of pages
256
Publication year
1991
Degree date
1991
School code
0056
Source
DAI-A 52/04, Dissertation Abstracts International
Place of publication
Ann Arbor
Country of publication
United States
Advisor
Weibust, Patricia S.
University/institution
University of Connecticut
University location
United States -- Connecticut
Degree
Ph.D.
Source type
Dissertations & Theses
Language
English
Document type
Dissertation/Thesis
Dissertation/thesis number
9128844
ProQuest document ID
303938410
Copyright
Database copyright ProQuest LLC; ProQuest does not claim copyright in the individual underlying works.
Document URL
http://search.proquest.com/docview/303938410
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