The Gendered Nature of Subsistence and Its Effect on Customary Land Tenure


Grigsby, William J. 2004. "The Gendered Nature of Subsistence and Its Effect on Customary Land Tenure." Society & Natural Resources 17 (3): 207-22.

Author: William J. Grigsby


In agrarian societies living in marginally productive environments, the primacy of subsistence production can shape customary rights to land and resources. In the Senegalese villages that participated in this field research, the subsistence imperative means land not being cultivated should be made available to those who would clear and farm it, regardless of who claims the land. Men consider women's contributions to the subsistence enterprise as secondary to their own responsibilities for organizing communal grain production. Women can use land, but not control it or manage its resources, and are subject to eviction and/or relegated to less fertile areas. Further, women's access to important commons resources may be more a function of prevailing land use than any structure of tenure rights.

Keywords: bush fallow, gender, land tenure, land use, Senegal, subsistence, West Africa, women, Property Rights

Topics: Agriculture, Gender, Land Tenure, Rights, Land Rights Regions: Africa, West Africa Countries: Senegal

Year: 2004

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