Social differentiation of risk: perceptions of the future in drought-prone Central Niger

Oxby, Clare (2014). Social differentiation of risk: perceptions of the future in drought-prone Central Niger. Journal des Africanistes, 84(1), pp. 106-129. Société des Africanistes

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A snapshot of two Tuareg-dominated 'communes rurales' in the pastoral-agricultural transition zones of Maradi and Tahoua regions, Central Niger, shows that, despite the openly shared 'inevitable natural hazard' drought discourse, risk-taking action in response to drought-related dangers is sharply polarized according to social position. On the one hand the dominant Tuareg minority perceive drought not only as danger for their herds but also as opportunity to increase their political following through the channelling of drought relief benefits to their supporters. On the other hand, the majority of commune households, living on the brink of economic viability, cultivate social links with the dominant families in order to secure access to water, land and humanitarian aid; and household members are forced into more and more frequent and distant out-migration. Certain leaders, well-informed about national land policy and practice, focus their efforts for a better future on the consolidation of community land rights through the promotion of certain sedentarization and land privatization initiatives; however the resulting increased land pressure in key locations may unwittingly expose inhabitants to even worse drought-linked crises in the future. Bibliogr., notes, sum. in English and French

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


06 Faculty of Humanities > Department of Art and Cultural Studies > Institute of Social Anthropology

UniBE Contributor:

Oxby, Clare


300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology




Société des Africanistes




Clare Oxby

Date Deposited:

27 Jul 2016 14:47

Last Modified:

27 Jul 2016 14:47




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