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Accueil du site → Doctorat → États-Unis → 1982 → The fellahin of Tebourba : rural development and farmer strategies in Northern Tunisia

University of California (Berkeley) 1982

The fellahin of Tebourba : rural development and farmer strategies in Northern Tunisia

Zussman, Mira

Titre : The fellahin of Tebourba : rural development and farmer strategies in Northern Tunisia

Auteur : Zussman, Mira

Université de soutenance : University of California (Berkeley)

Grade : Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) 1982

Résumé
The fellahin of the lower Medjerda Valley have been described by developers as being risk-averse—a condition symptomatic of the "mentalite des fellahin." By this it is meant that the farmers are non-maximizers unable to adopt innovative approaches to agriculture. This study examines the response of Tebourbi farmers to a long history of land reform and agricultural development programs. A central conclusion is that frequent changes in agrarian policy and conflict between state and farmer priorities have been primarily responsible for the loss of commitment and removal of long-range investments in agriculture by local farmers. Fluctuations of national policy between centralized and decentralized farming have exacerbated farmer conservatism and heightened the skepticism of fellahin concerning rural economic development. Two essential elements in Tunisia’s decentralized development schemes of the 1970’s were the attribution of small-scale agrarian reform parcels and the follow-up of extension services. The success of the latter hinges upon the attitudes of fellahin to the former. Many farmers need assurances that the land is theirs to keep. Those who believe that the agrarian reform parcels are as secure as private property—that is, that they are unlikely to be taken away—are more apt to make long-range investments in the farm and are more likely to utilize extension services. Those who believe that Tunisia faces imminent change—at either the national or lower levels—are inhibited from making long-range plans for their farms. Uncertain that expenditures of energy and money will yield personal gain (as opposed to national good), these fellahin choose to diversify their investments or abandon agriculture altogether. The dissertation traces a century of agrarian reform in Tebourba, Tunisia, concentrating on the decade between 1969 and 1979. Diversity of farmer response is chronicled through eight case studies of the strategies of fellahin and through consideration of the influence of tribe, class and colonial contact on farmer participation in the development process.

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Page publiée le 16 mai 2019