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Communal Labor as a Common Property Resource: How Smallholders Work Together

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Type: Conference Paper
Author: Netting, Robert McC.
Conference: Common Property in Ecosystems Under Stress, the Fourth Annual Conference of the International Association for the Study of Common Property
Location: Manila, Philippines
Conf. Date: June 16-19, 1993
Date: 1993
URI: https://hdl.handle.net/10535/5600
Sector: Land Tenure & Use
Region: Africa
Subject(s): common pool resources
social organization
Abstract: "Communal work groups or labor parties may well be seen as a crucial aspect of common property management. As Robert Hunt has pointed out, maintenance and repair of common property facilities such as irrigation systems or roads may require organized efforts by all members of the corporate group, and certain officers may have supervising and monitoring functions. Mandatory communal work may also be called out for reciprocal labor on the private land of members. I will analyze the communal labor of Swiss alpine villagers on the summer grazing alp, the forest, and the communal vineyard of their community. This institutions will be compared with the beer party labor in private cash-crop fields of the Kofyar in Nigeria. My argument will be that under the stress of population pressure and resulting intensive land use, smallholders develop common property rights in labor, and that these institutions may persist even as wage labor becomes more frequent."

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