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Mobilizing labour in African agriculture: the role of the International Colonial Institute in the elaboration of a standard of colonial administration, 1895-1930

Daviron B.. 2010. Journal of Global History, 5 (3) : p. 479-501.

How could labour be mobilized for the production of agricultural commodities in colonial lands? This question was discussed by European powers on many occasions between 1895 and 1930, within the International Colonial Institute (ICI). Three key phases and issues can be identified in these debates relating to Africa: the recruitment of Indian indentured labour (1895-1905); the recruitment and management of indigenous peoples as paid labourers (1905-1918); and the mobilization of indigenous smallholder agriculture (1918-1930). During the whole period under study, the use of constraint, and its legitimacy, appear as a permanent feature of ICI debates. Associated first with European plantations, the use of force became a means to mobilize native farmers in accordance with the conceptions of colonial administrations regarding good agricultural practices. In addition, the ICI's vision of colonial realities evolved from an out-of-date position during the first and second phases to a forward-looking one during the third phase, albeit one quite unrealistic in the scope of its ambition. (Résumé d'auteur)

Mots-clés : colonialisme; afrique

Thématique : Histoire; Economie et politique du développement

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