Generating Income and Conflicts: Profitability and Social Cohesion in Benin’s Cotton Sector

By Guirguissou Maboudou Alidou and Anke Niehof.

Published by The International Journal of Interdisciplinary Organizational Studies

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This paper is based on field research in the northern Benin, West Africa. The research aimed to investigate how interpersonal and intra-organisational conflicts disrupted cotton production and froze collective action. Cotton has proven to be the lifeline for farmer organisations, and has driven collective action in rural areas. The struggle to control these organisations and their economic and social benefits created mismanagement and free-riding reactions. The greed for resources, in the end, led to hatred, disruption of ties, and conflicts within and between farmer organisations, which resulted in the decline of cotton production and the freeze of collective action. Results from case studies show that social relations based on kinship and friendship deteriorate when financial stakes are high, and that cooperation within large groups requires legal sanctions to be sustainable.

Keywords: Cotton Production, Collective Action, Social Cohesion, Benin

The International Journal of Interdisciplinary Organizational Studies, Volume 7, Issue 1, pp.33-46. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 414.055KB).

Guirguissou Maboudou Alidou

PhD Student, Social Sciences Department, , Chair of Sociology of Consumption and Households, Wageningen University, Wageningen, The Netherlands and Institut National des Recherches Agricoles du Bénin, Porto-Novo, Wageningen, Benin

graduated as a sociologist with an MA at the University of Abomey-Calavi (Benin). As research assistant in the “Sitotroga Project” at the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA-Cotonou, Benin), he achieved an MSc at the University of Lomé (Togo). He is research associate at the Program of Agricultural Policy Analysis of the National Institute of Agricultural Research of Benin (INRAB). Actually completing a Ph.D at Wageningen University (The Netherlands) on cotton networking, social capital and gender roles, his research topics also include adoption and diffusion of technologies and social impact assessment.

Prof. Anke Niehof

Professor of Sociology, Department of Social Sciences,, Sociology of Consumption and Households Group, Wageningen University, Wageningen, Netherlands

was trained as an anthropologist and demographer and holds the Chair of Sociology of Consumption and Households at Wageningen University, the Netherlands. She is also the coordinating professor for gender education at the university. Her research topics include food and livelihood security, household and family care, and impacts of HIV/AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa.