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Accueil du site → Doctorat → États-Unis → 1994 → The cultural economy of technical innovation in semi-arid rural Morocco

University of Kentucky (1994)

The cultural economy of technical innovation in semi-arid rural Morocco

Herzenni, Ahmed

Titre : The cultural economy of technical innovation in semi-arid rural Morocco

Auteur : Herzenni, Ahmed

Université de soutenance : University of Kentucky

Grade : Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) 1994

This study attempts to establish culture as a primary factor influencing agricultural development. It is argued that while other approaches, such as the diffusion of innovations, Farming Systems Research and Extension, the Alternative Strategies paradigm, political economy models, and the Moral Economy approach, implicitly or explicitly disregard culture as the most pervasive factor influencing economic and technological behavior, the cultural economy model gives culture primacy. Culture is defined as the set of social norms and bodies of knowledge that ultimately stem from a particular relationship that a people have to nature and deity, and that translates into particular social structures. This definition is meant to restore the importance of human agency as a social force which constantly reinterprets culture and refashions social structures. It is argued that even when peasant farmers are "captured" by modernity and capitalist forces, they are still able to maintain their own cultural interpretations of the world, and to appropriate selected imports of modernity and capitalism through these interpretations. A Moroccan village located in a semi-arid wheat producing region was chosen to test the cultural economy model. A combination of qualitative and quantitative methodologies were used to assess the cultural economy of the village. The findings suggest that although sharecropping practices were on the decline, the social norms that shaped them were still effective. The withdrawal of the richest land owners only reinforced the sense of dignity and solidarity within the community. Some of the poor peasants still have access to land through sharecropping with small land owners. And, the community is confident that the introduction of irrigation in the near future will force large land owners to return to the practice of sharecropping, or at least provide job opportunities to the poor. Traditional agricultural practices were still widely employed. These practices revolve around the concept of bernisha. Technical innovation involved an adapted use of the off-set disc harrow. This demonstrated the capacity of the farmers to appropriate exogenous technologies within their particular cultural and farming systems requirements. It is concluded that unless research and extension services undergo radical conversions of their programs by acknowledging the expertise of peasant farmers they will continue to confront failures in their endeavors

Mots clés  : rural development, Middle Eastern history, Social structure, Social sciences, Agricultural economics


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