The Pen and the Plough: Balanta Young Men in Guinea-Bissau


Temudo, Marina, and Manuel Abrantes. 2015. “The Pen and the Plough: Balanta Young Men in Guinea-Bissau.” Development and Change 46 (3): 464–85. doi:10.1111/dech.12166.

Authors: Marina Temudo , Manuel Abrantes


Up until the late 1990s, the Balanta of Guinea-Bissau constituted what could be described as a ‘deep rural society’, whose central identity was linked with rice production and cattle accumulation. At the same time, it could be argued that even in the early days after Independence in 1974, the social aspirations of Balanta young men matched those of other Guinean youths in their shared desire to get away from the strictures of gerontocracy and of rural life. Surprisingly, however, this study documents the agency of many rural Balanta young men in changing oppressive social rules, and in using agriculture as a means to fund their education, to feed their families and as a route to prosperity. The authors conclude that the persistent political instability in the country (most acutely felt in the capital city) and the national and global economic crises, together with the Balanta agricultural ethos and the softening of gerontocratic power, are at the root of this revaluing of rural livelihoods. This article challenges current dominant narratives about the crisis of young men in contemporary Africa and highlights the need to study the aspirations and achievements of youth in their rural–urban nexus from a historical and holistic perspective.

Topics: Age, Youth, Gender, Masculinity/ies, Gender Roles, Post-Conflict, Political Participation Regions: Africa, West Africa Countries: Guinea-Bissau

Year: 2015

Women, Non-Governmental Organizations, and Deforestation: a Cross-National Study


Shandra, John M., Carrie L. Shandra, and Bruce London. 2008. “Women, Non-Governmental Organizations, and Deforestation: A Cross-National Study.” Population and Environment 30 (1-2): 48–72.

Authors: John M. Shandra, Carrie L. Shandra, Bruce London


There have been several cross-national studies published in the world polity theoretical tradition that find a strong correlation between nations with high levels of environmental nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and low levels of various forms of environmental degradation. However, these studies neglect the role that women’s NGOs potentially play in this process. We seek to address this gap by conducting a cross-national study of the association between women’s NGOs and deforestation. We examine this relationship because deforestation often translates into increased household labor, loss of income, and impaired health for women and, as a result, women’s non-governmental organizations have become increasingly involved in dealing with these problems often by protecting forests. We use data from a sample of 61 nations for the period of 1990–2005. We find substantial support for world polity theory that both high levels of women’s and environmental NGOs per capita are associated with lower rates of deforestation. We also find that high levels of debt service and structural adjustment are correlated with higher rates of forest loss. We conclude with a discussion of findings, policy implications, and possible future research directions.

Keywords: deforestation, women, non-governmental organizations, cross-national

Topics: Economies, Environment, Extractive Industries, Gender, Women, NGOs Regions: Africa, MENA, Central Africa, East Africa, North Africa, Southern Africa, West Africa, Americas, Caribbean countries, Central America, North America, South America, Asia, East Asia, South Asia, Southeast Asia, Europe, Baltic states, Balkans, Central Europe, Eastern Europe, Oceania Countries: Albania, Algeria, Angola, Argentina, Bangladesh, Bolivia, Brazil, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Central African Republic, Chad, Chile, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ecuador, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Gambia, Ghana, Guatemala, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Honduras, Hungary, India, Jamaica, Kenya, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Malaysia, Mexico, Mongolia, Mozambique, Nepal, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Pakistan, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Romania, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Swaziland, Tanzania, Thailand, Togo, Trinidad & Tobago, Uganda, Uruguay, Zambia, Zimbabwe

Year: 2008

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