The flexibility of domestic production : the Kapsiki and their transformations

TitleThe flexibility of domestic production : the Kapsiki and their transformations
Publication TypeBook
Year of Publication1988
AuthorsW. E. A.van Beek
Pagination - 27
Date Published1988///
PublisherAfrican Studies Centre
Place PublishedLeiden
Publication Languageeng
KeywordsCameroon, colonialism, Kapsiki, modes of production, social change

The Kapsiki of North Cameroon, called Higi in Nigeria, form a sizeable group of about 150,000 people, two thirds in Nigeria and one third in Cameroon. The main administrative village in Cameroon, Mogodé, provides the majority of the data for the present study of transformations in Kapsiki social formation and the stability-in-change of the domestic mode of production. From precolonial times up to the present, Kapsiki/Higi society went through various phases in social formation: a commodity clientship of a cluster of villages fighting to keep out the enemy in precolonial times, a fragmented society scourged by a superior armed enemy during early colonialism, a number of villages reluctantly opening up in the late colonial era, a marginal society during early independence, and an emergent tribe of traders in recent times. Throughout these transformations, the productive and reproductive basis remained quite unchanged. The domestic mode of production proved itself adaptable and flexible through several processes. First, the general ecological situation remained more or less the same. Secondly, the changes that came were cushioned by the traditional fragmentation of Kapsiki society, by its inherent contradictions, by its adaptation to a situation of subordination, and by the existence of a class of traditional specialists (blacksmiths). In this respect, the term 'domestic mode of production' covers too great a variety not only of societal forms, but also of reactions to change, to warrant its continued use as a terminological monolith.


Paper van de conferentie "The political economy of Cameroon : historical perspectives", Leiden, 1-4 juni 1988 - Met bibliogr., noten

Citation Key740