Village Politics: Heterogeneity, Leadership And Collective Action

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Date
2000
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Abstract
"When comparing stratified Fulani village societies, little direct relationship between the degree of heterogeneity and the success in collective action was found, except when heterogeneity among leadership and elite groups was compared. Small size and homogeneous groups do not seem to be general preconditions for stronger ability to perform collectively. First, it was found that homogeneity among elite groups enhanced capacity for collective action. Second, it was when heterogeneity in economic interests between elite groups intensified and coincided with other dimensions of heterogeneity that collective action became difficult to achieve, such as heterogeneity in economic wealth, access to land and common-pool resources, and agreement over authority of the leadership. Third, collective action was enhanced by political elites and leaders being a bit better endowed and a bit wealthier than the average community members, but not when their assets were mobilised against the economic interests and sense of fairness of other social groups. Fourth, the coordination power of the leadership related to the management of common-pool resources was undermined when leadership had extensive recourse to state officials external to the village community, underscoring the importance of autonomy."
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IASC, common pool resources, collective action, village organization, Fulani (African people), pastoralism, households, inequality, social organization, heterogeneity
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