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  • Print publication year: 1991
  • Online publication date: November 2009

Chapter 6 - Social relations of production re-structured


Marked distinctions in social status and political power underlie much of Fatiya's public life. The same is true to some extent of more private household and domestic contexts. These also are permeated by subtle power differentials pointing in the direction of increased inequality and social separation between the genders and the generations. There is nothing surprising in this. Public roles are a continuation of private roles, and there is a dialectical interplay between sacred acts and secular routines. In Fatiya, gender relations permeate domestic organization, and this in turn is the result of marriage strategies that facilitate access to the labor power of women. The social organization of production extends beyond the house-hold domain to embrace cooperative forms of work and labor contributions. The present chapter traces these complex relationships. It is an effort to explicate how changing ideologies of power, brought about by exposure to Manding ways, has led to a re-structuring of social relations of production. In the community of Fatiya, and indeed in the whole of the Kalunay, the social separation of cropping systems is the result of a pervasive ideology that makes clearcut distinctions between different categories of people and the roles they play.

Constructing gender relations

Basic processes of social separation lie at the center of gender relations. In Fatiya, institutionalized relations between men and women, and between the elder and younger generations within each gender, are generally modelled after Manding social organization. This is explicitly recognized by the actors themselves. But the knotty question still remains as to what precisely is a Manding model of gender relations, and how one is to grasp its essentially qualitative dimensions.