Summary

Native of the Bwa-land and belonging to the bwa people, I have carried out in the present thesis a study on the significance of social dynamics in this zone. This regional entity of the Tominian circle in the Malian southeast that shares a border with Burkina-faso is identified as a domain of the ethnic group Bwa in Mali. Bwa-land is situated in the Sahel zone. The climate and the vegetation are in general, except few peculiarities, typical of this climatic zone. In the locality, next to the major ethnic group Bwa, live ethnic minorities such as Dafing, Peuhl, Dogon, and Minianka. Except the Peulhs who are exclusively stockbreeders, all other ethnic groups are involved in crop farming and in off-farm activities that include petty trade, rural exodus, livestock raising, picking, handicraft, etc.).

The peasant communities of the Bwa-land, particularly the Bwa communities, are renowned as conservative. Very little studies have conducted in these communites which are considered to be in minority and administratively marginalized in Mali. Hence, a hasty observer may regard them as obstacles to rural modernization, and even to any change.

The analysis of the lived experiences and present social realities of the peasants in the zone shows that the locality as any other one does not get out of the law of the (endogenous) natural dynamics and of that externally induced (the innovations). Indeed, the locality is hereditary of certain autonomy and endowed with strategies and objectives, advancing in very open interaction with his agricultural, social and political environment.

From that perspective, the basic objectives of our study are:

• To elaborate a scientific document that substitutes to the pejorative image of the zone (marginalized, retardated...) a more dialectic vision of the necessary mixture phenomenon between local agro-sociological practices and factors of the rural modernization in the locality.

• To explain the conjunction of the indicators implying the non-change (permanence of the tradition) and the evolution aspect in these peasant communities.

• To compare the behaviours of the Bwa and Dafing communities’ bevor the external factors agro-technical innovations.

• To define the exact role played by the elements of the modernization and the evolution of the attitudes of the Bwa and Dafing peasants facing these external factors (migration, NGO, religion, agro-technological innovations, health infrastructures and education...).

• To measure the evolution of the integration of the Bwa people to the national dynamics of progresses of the democratic and decentralized Mali.

Given the complexity of this issue and the awaited reliability of data to be collected from the field, the research approach for the apprehension of this problematic of the social dynamics in the Bwa-land requires a combination of methods and empirical research instruments of the social sciences:

Method of the questionnaire (formal and informal interview techniques), of observation (qualitative techniques of participative observation, semi-formal and informal), of analysis of documents and contents (technical analysis of contents, secondary analysis, and interpretation of the peasant’s language), of evaluation and interpretation of the data with the help of the computer software: WinMax-QDA.

As for the organisational plan of the activities for the good sequence of the work to the end, it is constituted of several phases:

  1. Theoretical preparations
  2. Two separated field research phases (of three months and half each: months of November to the month of February) in the study zone, the Tominian/Mali circle.
  3. Interpretation and final evaluation of the collected data
  4. Compilation and presentation of the work.

At the end of the analysis of the results of this work we were able to observe the problematic of the process of the social dynamics of the peasant communities residing in geographic entity: the Bwa-land in the Malian Southeast. Explicitly, it was observed that the progress of the internal social dynamics of the rural communities (in their social natural environment: changes in the hierarchy and organization of the village communities Bwa and Dafing, climatic variations, degradations of natural environment, etc.) and their behaviours of different natures in front the invasion of the exterior factors of change (State, migration, the religious currents, education and health infrastructures, the development agencies, etc.).

Universality and local diversity of the phenomenon of change allowed us to confirm with certainty that the pejorative image (anti-modernization/ very conservative) given to the Bwa peoples is based only on less relevant grounds. Following the observed facts, peasant communities, as everywhere else, live since a very long time in dialectics relations with their natural and social environment without for as much escaping from the effects of the contradictory and/or advantageous rapports that they maintain with their social, natural, regional and national environment.

We noted that in front the growing tendency of social, geographic and climatic constraints, the peasants in the zone produced a multitude of responses to safeguard, to express their identity and to survive.

Furthermore, the comparison of the local changes at the level of the production system with those of the social system allowed noting that the production system is more susceptible/sensitive to the effects of change than the social one. Owing to the agro-climatic constraints or insecure factors of the agricultural production, the change in this domain is no more a choice but a vital/obligatory necessity. On the other hand, the social changes are more moderated, partial and slow. What's more they are seen by the peasants as adoption strategies for the adaptation of the social frameworks to the new natural and social constraints.

Besides, the social internal changes in the peasant communities Bwa and Dafing are involved to a change process that touches the Malian territory at large: unavoidable integration of the locality to the Malian social dynamics. We measured this evolution through the social and economical facts like migration, the rapports with the administration and the institutions of the State, the introduction of the religious currents, the exchange networks with the neighbouring ethnic groups and the urban centers. These external factors of change, unavoidable in the facts, act (positively and/or negatively) on the internal social dynamics. Thus, they oblige the peasants to adopt a multitude of defensive and/or assimilation strategies to protect their socio-cultural identity and or assure their survival. We noted that, these exterior influences are adopted by the populations according to their degree of opportunity and of advantageous necessity. In other words, they are expanded or are rejected following the degree of risk they present for the social system in general. The conclusive concrete results of our analysis prove that:

With reference to the results of this work, we can say that theoretically the internal change in the overall national change is proper to all the ethnic groups, to all the localities and social levels, in short to anything that does live. But that it presents local varieties more, cultural, and economical. This demands that caution be made in its analysis for comprehension no matter the level. Indeed, this comprehension is of capital importance for all people having the interest to seize the economical and social functioning in the rural areas for this concern us and everywhere at all levels, for it is the key of success of all collaboration with the rural world. From this point of view, we suggested that an analysis of the social dynamics should precede all intervention in rural environment. All the same by extrapolation, we assert that the internal social dynamics is not only proper to the rural milieu, instead it marks also social internal general evolution of the cities, countries, of the sub regions and continents. For example, the struggle for daily life of the Malian to survive, the Mali economically and geographically difficult living conditions, the contribution of the Malian migrants and development agencies to the amelioration of the living conditions of the people at home or the Mali in its social and economical reality in the social economical network in West Africa, are not effects of the chance. It’s the resultant of the genius strategy of the Malian for the management of uncertainties and risks.


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