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Not yet Soko Huru : the local appropriation of 'free market' discourse in the coffee industry of rural Kenya, Meru District (1998)

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Not yet Soko Huru : the local appropriation of 'free market' discourse in the coffee industry of rural Kenya, Meru District (1998)

Lamont, Mark (1999) Not yet Soko Huru : the local appropriation of 'free market' discourse in the coffee industry of rural Kenya, Meru District (1998). Masters thesis, Concordia University.

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Abstract

This study examines social change in Meru District, Kenya following the economic liberalization of the coffee sector. The empirical material presented was collected during fieldwork in Kenya from June to December 1998. The case studies demonstrate how local social actors have appropriated 'free market' discourse (Soko Huru ) as an alibi for the illicit trade of surplus coffee that feeds into Kenya's second economy. The thesis questions whether economic liberalization and structural adjustment programmes are transforming rural social relations in Meru District. Discussions on the relevancy of age, sex, and 'class' as social categories and as analytic constructs are placed in relation to the social changes witnessed in rural Kenya in the late 1990s. The conclusion reached is that while relations based on generation and gerontocracy are renovated under the local appropriation of Soko Huru , those relationships based on gender and patriarchy are reaffirmed. This is demonstrated to be especially acute in relation to the social division of labour, and in relationships between individuals within households. Women, in particular, have been adversely effected by structural adjustment since the economic viability of the rural household is based on women's farm labour, yet they are excluded from participating in the 'free market'. The 'class' dimensions of social change, economic crisis, and structural adjustment are locally subsumed in relations between sexed and aged individuals organized into productive households. Gender and generation, it is argued, are necessary social axes through which to understand social change, and the illusion of social change, in Kenya.

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Arts and Science > Sociology and Anthropology
Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Authors:Lamont, Mark
Pagination:vii, 178 leaves : col. ill., maps ; 29 cm.
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:Theses (M.A.)
Program:Sociology and Anthropology
Date:1999
Thesis Supervisor(s):Le Blanc, Marie Nathalie
ID Code:974
Deposited By:Concordia University Libraries
Deposited On:27 Aug 2009 13:15
Last Modified:08 Dec 2010 10:17
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