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Rural societies in the face of climatic and environmental changes in West Africa

Benjamin Sultan
Richard Lalou
Mouftaou Amadou Sanni
et al.

Part III. Social changes in rural populations

Chapter 16. Political changes, landholding dynamics and socio-economic reconstruction

Imanan administrative district (Niger)

Abdoulaye Mohamadou et Harouna Abdoutan

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The Sahel region is emblematic of the dynamics of the links between society and the environment whose adaptation to climate change—a very fashionable theme today—is one of the signs. Indeed, drought, the degradation of natural resources, poverty, etc. have structured the living and survival strategies of Sahel populations since the 1970s. This interaction between people and the natural environment is not reduced to impacts and adaptation strategies. It also affects the dynamics of social relations and in particular as regards land and natural resources. Jean-Pierre Jacob (2007) highlighted the link between power and land in traditional African societies. In most of the latter, the group or lineage that holds land capital also controls political power and reinforces this by using land as a negotiation weapon in its links with the other social groups—both native and immigrant. Local political configurations also affect farming systems and land rights. Indeed, social relati...

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