International African Institute

Review: Headpanners and Dredgers: Theory in Plateau Studies
Author(s): Barrie Sharpe
Review by: Barrie Sharpe
Source: Africa: Journal of the International African Institute, Vol. 53, No. 4 (1983), pp. 84-91
Published by: Cambridge University Press on behalf of the International African Institute
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1159717
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No J. maps. figs. Quebec. which linked it to the wider economic system and political hierarchy. Nigeria: their philosophy. The gida also provided for the production of the exchange good (tin). plates. MULLER. Professor Isichei and Sister Neiers both use ethnography within the context of their respectively historical and pastoral projects. Studiesin theHistoryofPlateau State. manners. Plotnicov (1971). the precise characterizationof the industry remains unclear. No price. I shall return to the problem of the pre-colonial production organizationand exchange below.106. To me at least. 275 pp. maps. ?25. and customs. a thesis-length study of the development of the Plateau tin-mines from the pre-colonial period almost to the present day. pp.6. Probably the most significant of the works under review is Freund's Capital and Labour.. Lang. and Du Bon Usage is in fact a structuralist overview of the existing ethnographicliterature.Africa 53(4). bibliography. This content downloaded from 152. 13 Mar 2015 05:15:41 UTC All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . maps. 1983 Reviewarticle HEADPANNERSAND DREDGERS: THEORY IN PLATEAU STUDIES BarmeSharpe Capital and Labour in the Nigerian Tin Mines. Freund is here concerned to show the relativelylarge scale of the pre-colonialtin industry and also to characterizeit as something other than petty-commodity production. FREUND. 1976. thegida was an extended family compound. 283.. The Peoples of the Jos Plateau. ethnographic and economic analyses. No price. London. The two works by Muller are entirely within the ethnographic and theoretical discourse to which Muller has contributed largely. The books reviewed here can be grouped in relation to the currently prevailing anthropological bias of Plateau studies.. Mouton. C. Longman.P. In this review I shall be concerned to create a confrontation between these historical. and elsewhere. For many years the Jos region has been conceived of as a refuge area inhabited by 'archaic'societies. London. Succursale B. 304 pp. According to Freund. Parente et Mariage chez les Rukuba. ISICHEI (ed.). but this imprecision is more than compensated by the archival material which is assembled here.Du Bon Usage du Sexe et du Marnage:structuresmatrimonialedu Haute Plateau Nigerien. price. E. MULLER. Ibadan history series. 206 pp.).1981. J. The publication of these five books indicates a significant increaseof interest in the history and sociology of a hitherto peripheral part of Nigeria. improvements in our understanding of Plateau society have stemmed largely from anthropological studies by Netting. The early chapters sketch the organization of tin production before colonial penetration as a system embedded in the gida (Hausa/'house'). which is familiar from the work of Hill (1972: 1977). Nigeria. expanded by the presence of clients or slaves so as to form a unit which provided for its own production and reproduction. Paris. The book is wide-ranging in its scope. plates. the vicissitudes of tin prices on the world market and the kinds of articulations existing between Plateau and capitalist modes of production.250 on Fri. In the course of the last decade and a half. 1979.. C. Wallace (1978) and Usman (1981). maps. Serge Fleury (ed.Peter D. Sangree. SISTER M. Freund and some of the contributors to Isichei's volume use very little of the anthropologicalliterature. in the book. Macmillan. Muller and. in a rather different discourse. via the gandu system. C. DE PAUL NEIERS. index. 215 pp. 1982. B. Canada. Freund argues that this development has been largely conditioned by developments in the composition of capital. ?21. Cirencester. plates. 67.

we knowlittle about of theNigerianurbaneconomy.portersandthe workerswho builtthe subsequentanalysisof the recruitment BauchiLight Railway. moresignificantly.employeesandcasualmigrantlabourweresituated.He showshowover-capitalization in tin-miningcompanysharesdeterminedthe characterof miningleases and manyof the conditionsin whichcapitalisttin productionbegan. Finally.seems quite thorough. misunderstandingand coercion in which expatriateminers.evenwherethe analysisis coveringwell-wornground.bazaareconomy)arepartof a discoursewhich Freundobviouslyconsidersprovenandnon-problematic.For example.overseers.Latersectionsof the bookdocumentthe complex. Freund notes a work force characteristicof early capitalism(78).we areshownhowthesespecificallytechnicalandmarketfactors promotedchangesin the proportionof tributersas againstcontractedlabourand led to the growthof purportedlydisorganized'squatter'communitieswhichgrewup on the minesfield.Therearerelativelyfewof us whowouldcareto workin boththe Nigerianarchivesandthe publishedandunpublished recordsof the tin-miningcompanies.we areshownthe resistanceCh.This is a seriouslapse:work in the mines has been experiencedby enormousnumbersof northern This content downloaded from 152.unintentionallyintroducesthe entirediscourseon 'orientaldespotism'.but nowhere describesthe socialorganizationof this sector. Thisis aninterestingbook. 'early capitalism'begs the obviousquestions'how early'and 'where'?The analysisis strongest whereit is seekingto definethe specificityof tin-productionon the Plateau.7).These areissues whichFreunddealswithsensiblybuttoo briefly.anddocumentsthe of the commoditymarketwhichled firstto mechanisation developmentsin the international of unmechanizedproduction largertin minesand then to the continuationor reappearance techniques:pickandshovelworkandhead-panning.gandu denotesheadtax ratherthana formof labourorganizationin the languagesof the western hinterlandof the plateau. Theseterms(gandu.Thetheoreticalframeworkservesto take Freund'sanalysisout of the simplydescriptiveor polemicaldiscourseof some recent histories. subsequentpopulardissent(Birom of skilledtradesunions(Ch.for example. But it also includesthe organizationof labourgangs. in fact. artisans'workshops(129) and a 'swollenbazaareconomy'.6. 6)andtheappearance political economy of tin and the specific interrelations of tin production and post-independence politicsin the Nigerianstate (whichFreund.yet it remainsunclearhowaganduorganization orderedtasksor organization pay.But wherethe theoreticalframeworkis overindulged.is not a survivalof a pre-colonialmodeof productionbutis ratherthe resultof technicalproblemsof of smallminingenterprisesas tin oreextractionand. Grace('Tin miningon thePlateaubefore1920')in theIsicheivolume.the conceptof ganduis invoked(pp.for example.Suchproduction. 11. 4) analysesthe economicconditionsin whichconglomerates (suchas AssociatedTin Minesof Nigeria)emerged. (Interestingly. 13 Mar 2015 05:15:41 UTC All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . contractors. and the networks of exchange.andthe invocationof termssuchas ganduorthe organization 'earlycapitalism'or 'bazaar'raisesissueswhichmaywell be irrelevantto the specificPlateau context.all points which Freund parameterswithin which mine-managers deals with in some detail. Wartimedemandsfor tin led to forcedlabour(Ch. Williams(1976)and Girvan(1970). characterizesas a 'rentierstate').Boththe archiveswhicharecitedandthe presentationitselfare stimulating.There are no oral accountsof mines labourfrom Nigerianmine-workers.Finally.especiallyin comparisonwith a paperby J.Freundargues.the natureof leasesand the economic or free minersworked.The coverageof the early Nigerian archives.REVIEW ARTICLE 85 Freund'sanalysisproceedsby a quite consciousalternationbetweenthe organizationof andspeculation capitalandthe livingconditionsof labour.Freund'sanalysisfalters.yet Europeanaccountsandimpressionsarecitedat length. Bazaareconomy.106.the positionof merchantsand the economicrole of the state.relationsbetweenthe RoyalNigerCompanyandthe British governmentand Nigerianadministration.butfairlywell known.of the incorporation buffersagainstworseningworldpricesandthe risingcosts of productionof the largemines.)Likewise. Especiallyin the sectionsdealingwith labourthere are lengthypassagesof unsupported generalization. 8. But.given the linkagebetweenmines labourand colonialtaxation. 5).artisan.Thatspecificity includesthe characteristics of tin-miningenteiprises.250 on Fri. 92) to define the of ganglabour.therearefeatureswhicharelargely or entirelymissingfrom the analysis.The 'Businessof Tin' (Ch.earlycapitalism. Movingoncemoreto labour.These relationsin turn providethe contextfor of mineslabour.followingTurner(1976).

1977) and an excellent unpublished B. I feel competent only to let Sister Neiers speak for herself: in her 'reply to Father Tempels' (Neiers.250 on Fri. brickmakersand quarrymenin Samuel (ed. responsibilities and expectations which the expatriatemining community brought to the Plateau?Were miners as fully professionalized as the literary sources (Colonel Laws or the colonial inspectorate for example) would lead us to expect? What was the relationship between miners and the mining engineers who seem to have worked with or within large enterprises and colonial administration?In what ways were expatriateminers' models of the tribute system combined with pre-colonial forms of contract or political inequality to establish working practices?And precisely which English system and which northern Nigerian systems were involved? These questions could be multiplied. 1977: 1-98. Then: Philosophically speaking. dynamic element of being should not have led to a more advanced state of technical progress? [on the Plateau]. Must not that failure [of technical progress] be ascribed to over attachment to Mother Earth . restricted and closed societies. either as a stage in the life cycle or. Yet. societies and popular culture(s) of the region. the characterizationof the 'migratory trades'ofleadminers. . Freund argues that tin-mining '. Only such informants could have given us the details of labour organization. See. .Sc. In the conclusions. . Why then. backwardor forward.6. just as a theory and with no factual information . Freund is awareof this Africanand Britishliterature:he cites the work of Rule (1971) on Cornish miners and the organization of the tributing system and relies heavily on recent English social history (Hay et al. has inspired no industrialisation and no linkages. incidentally. 163)and then notes that she has failed to identify 'its inmost nature' (ibid. as a major and traumatic event. 'it is from labour that an answer to the contradictionsgenerated by capital penetration in Nigerian society can be evolved' (229). especially pp. languages only a little beyond the threshold of formalisation . Men and women who had worked in the very first capitalist tin-mines were still living when Freund was researching this book. thesis (Onmar-Shittien.106. of contracts. . . (The poverty of an analysis without this 'living record' can easily be seen if one comparesthe 'labour' sections of this book with work on South American and CentralAfrican mine workers (cf. ? The natives give the impression that it hurts them more than it hurts us to see old trees cut down . 1980). or energy which animates the entire pagan system from within' p. including over a hundred pages of data which are set well within such This content downloaded from 152.). driving. perhaps major.of passive resistance to management. We would hazard. Taussig. the mines were an enclave (whose) development must be understood in the structure of corporatecapitalism. What for example were the 'models' of management/labour relations. 1979. The sociological reasons for its failure to develop in this way are obvious: particularly difficult physical conditions. of living conditions and of the cultural matrix within which popular political consciousness developed. 1973) to analyse 'theft' of tin as a response to exploitation. . There is more. 162-4). They have become a proletariat and Freund argues. does Freund fail to describe the life of labour and the specifically cultural practices of that class? The other works which are reviewed here might be expected to illuminate the pre-colonial economy (in which tin and tin production were only subordinate parts) and to fill out our knowledge of the people.86 REVIEW ARTICLE Nigerians. as in the case of the forced labour of 1941-44.or. . . how does it happen that systems of thought which accord such an important role to the living. within Nigeria . with the current revival of interest in the life of labour in European history. she first defines the Plateau 'pagan philosophy' concerning God (a distant but supreme being) then notes Tempels' notion of 'Power'('a vital principle. work-gang discipline.. factors in the appearance of new kinds of farm labour contract and new forms of politico-economic stratification in the communities of the Plateau and its hinterland. . 71-3).' The fundamental effect of tin-mining has been to push peasants on to a labour market and to make them dependent on a capitalist commodity trade. 13 Mar 2015 05:15:41 UTC All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . for example. that research in this direction might bring to light the underlying causes of this surprising sterility in the technical sphere. They are significant when one considers that mines labour (and cash cropping of food for the mining population) were important. geographical isolation.). . . even here. some significant issues escape his analysis.

(ex-SudanInteriorMission) and the devotionalliteratureand philosophyof Islamin Nigeria. Muller. (cf. 1976: 121. In this literature.nor (with the exceptionof Smith'swork on Kagoroand Kadara.the extensionof the termhusbandto the husband'ssisteris explainedby 'the This content downloaded from 152. it is not improbablethat the systematiccomplexityof Rukubacustomis a reconstructionfrom more contingent.socialchangeandeconomyareall significantby theirabsencein the two booksby Muller.politicalorganization. dataand Onecannotdoubtthesincerityof thisbook.Constituentwife-abductionunitsof each moiety take each other's wives in secondarymarriage.less rule-governedpractices.) The additionalmaterialwhich is included in the 1976 version elaboratesthe classificationof secondarymarriagesystems(fromthreetypesin 1970.6.to fourtypesin 1976) or drawsout analogiesbetweenRukubareasoningandanthropological theory. . into an implicitmoietyorganizationof wife-abduction units. or the more accessible (and cheaper) Kinshipand MarriageamongsttheRukuba (Muller.norclaima monopolyoverethnographic method.250 on Fri. 124with 1970: 194-207.If it is a reconstruction onewondersjustwhoare'theRukuba'andwhatwerethe purposesof thisversionof postsocialorder..A furtheranalysisof Rukubachiefdoms(LeRoi BoucEmissaire.)A womanremainspermanently marriedto all of her primary. Religiousconversion.a categoryof politico-ritual systemsbetweenlineagesocietiesand states founded on divine kingship. intormationon economyor the exceptionto 'the rules'. 1970).106. 'Moieties'exchangewomenin primarymarriage.has subsequentlybeen shown to underliethe organizationof Rukubachiefdomsvia a rather specializeddiscourse on the nature of power. whichwas given in Muller 1970.in relationto the texts and tractsof the variousProtestantalliancessuch as the Evangelical Churchof West Africa. ParenteetMariagechezlesRukubais anemendedtranslationof a thesisin English(Muller. Thus.nor on the wider pre-colonialeconomywhich might situate marriagesas exchanges. andDuBonUsage.The complexityof the Rukubamarriagesystemis. is excised fromParente etMariage . cf.Perhapsit mayserveas a charterforthe elaborationof a novelCatholicismwhichseeksan Africanauthenticity.little is said aboutthe effectsof the 'circulationof women'(the 'marriage-go-round' as Mullertermsit) on householdformationor inter-and intra-householdinequalities.REVIEW ARTICLE 87 ethnographiccategoriesas descriptionof initiationrites. 1976/1970) are highly systematicaccountsof the marriagesystemin Rukuba..For example (1976: 120-1).Therearemanyother detailedramifications of thissystem:notablythata technicallysecondarymarriageis enjoined as part of the male initiationceremony. bothtakethisemphasisto itsultimateconclusion.But the accountsof thesemarriagesystems(includingMuller'saccountof the Rukubasystem)havea ratheruneasyrelationshipto accountsof practiceandto certainotherfieldsof discourseon custom.1980) has been reviewedin a previousissue of Africa(1980)and in Man (1983). 1980:22. and an appeal to a specific 'ideology' characteristic of chiefdoms. ParentietMariage. moreovernot unique:similarlycomplicated systemshavebeenreportedfor manyof the 'societies'or 'tribes'in centralNigeria.which had ceasedlong before1956.as has happenedto Tempels' 'Bantu Philosophy'in the Jamaamovement(Fabian. To return to the texts at hand. 13 Mar 2015 05:15:41 UTC All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . 1979..but it is hardto see whatit intendsto show.Unmarriedyouths contract pre-maritalrelationshipswithineach 'wife-abductionunit'... or ratheracquirea context. This marriagesystem(which. 152ff).In fact.was emendedby 'the Rukuba'in 1956). 1980. Wambudtain Isichei). 212-13. Both the Englishand Frenchversionsare carefulanalysesof the organizationof a systemof secondarymarriagewhich systematicallydifferentiateslocal residentialunits by meansof complexmarriagerules.The peculiarhorizonsof thissecondarymarriage literaturepredisposecurrentanalysesto emphasizeruleasanadequateaccountof socialorder. ParenteetMariage .There is considerable internalevidencethatthe reportedsystemis theoneconceivedof by Muller'sinformants. 1982)on the reconstructionof marriage'custom'in relationto colonialand national politics.and that the son of a preferentialmarriageis the 'preferred'candidatefor chiefship(Muller.etc.Thereis a largecommunityof Catholicson andaroundthe Plateauwhosebeliefsare unknownto sociologists:this book may be put in context.incidentally. thereis a preferentialmarriage ruleby whichthe eldestdaughterof a womanmarriesthe sonof the woman'slastlover.for example. ..morality.secondaryand preferentialhusbands.(This preferential marriagebyruleoccurseitherbeforeorshortlyafterthe girlcontractsherprimary marriageand beforeany secondarymarriagetakesplace.

residence and exchanges. ethnographers and 'strangers'. then complicating subdivisions are introduced to produce a 'global system' which. and the Introduction and Conclusion. 1981: 257]. constrained only by the principle that alliances be diversified (pp. Irigwe. Smith. there are few accounts of either the popular sociology or the interests which this indigenous sociological thinking serves. 149-82) do not give any new information and misrepresent the information we do have in Gunn (1953. Muller in fact notes that Meek and Smith give formal accounts of marriagesystems without explaining how Katab or Kagoro themselves conceptualize the marriagesystem. according to Muller. recognize that these 'marriagesystems' are the scholastic constructs by which intellectuals and administrators of different 'societies' explain (and legitimate) their own world (cf. But the significances or functions of this discourse are unknown and the strategic significance of 'rules' is obscured by a presentation which privileges 'structure' and excludes 'event'. and this folk-sociology has been. Moroa. The other much more lengthy ethnographic accounts. Kaje. they paraphrasethe sources without detailed page referencesto produce synthetic 'systems' whose 'rules' go beyond.) Professor Muller has thus correctly identified an important cultural element in Plateau society. Davies and Berthoud. Sangree. These sections of the book (pp. Secondary marriage systems are themselves transformations of even more basic structures which oppose endogamy and exogamy. and rights in married versus unmarried women. Du Bon Usage du Sexe et duMarnagesuggests an explanation of this indigenous structuralist discourse but mainly consists of summariesof the existing literatureon marriagesystems. Katab is first presented as a simple moiety system. Instead. incidentally seem to contradict the uniformity in modes This content downloaded from 152. However. therefore. G. The introduction asserts that the marriage systems of the Plateau are a set of transformations motivated solely by the desire of each ethnic group to distinguish itself from its neighbours.106. intended for officials. Historical data are also explicitly excluded from the analysis (p. He notes 'c'est que les Rukuba discutent naturellement en termes des deux theories'. arranges the reported marriage systems (of sixteen Plateau 'societies') into sequences which show increasingly complex combinations of such basic structural elements. economic or political dissimilarities since. 1982)and hence their own position in it. he also notes orderly variationsin brideservice obligations. do make some useful points: Muller notes that a common feature of these marriagesystems is that they allocate group membership on bases other than kinship or descent. Jere. Sophisticated sociological reasoning is characteristicof Plateau systems of thought (although. the original data. The basic premise of the book is that the marriagesystems of the Plateau and neighbouring areas are a group of transformationsof underlying structures: secondary marriage. It is clear that Muller. in a vast socio-logical bricollage which makes one sense for each of these societies in particular and another sense for their totality' (p. 256. does not confirm). The core of the book. in part I ('Les Modeles formels'). Smedley.Amo.88 REVIEW ARTICLE Rukuba' in terms of either familiarity and co-residence or sibling unity. . Birom and Ganawuri are based upon the published and unpublished work of Chalifoux. and his sources. of Piti. 1956) and Meek (1931). These transformationsdo not reflect ecological. 28). we are told. Du Bon Usage . appropriatedby a purportedly theoretical discourse of anthropology in which the possibility of elaborated links between social units is transmutedinto a logical demand for ramifiedalliances. Kachichere and Chawai. . . By invoking this structuralistlogic and the motive of ethnic differentiationMuller is able to argue that marriage systems 'think themselves'. 272). These formal models are neither theoretically informed constructs nor verbatim translations into French of the original ethnographic accounts. . Buji. which is. Smith. explanations which Muller terms 'functionalist' and 'structuralist' theories respectively. is the section on Rukuba (which summarizes Muller 1970/1976). marriageward systems and the constitution of production groups (which variations. the concluding pages toDu Bon Usage . This is a self-fulfilling argument: marriage system differentiation is central to discourse about social organization. Baker. 'Societies choose a marriagesystem . 33-89 and the accounts of Anaguta. as he notes [Muller. or sometimes even contradict..6. Chara. pp. these societies have a fundamentally similar ecology and mode of production. 13 Mar 2015 05:15:41 UTC All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . or was. stipulates the different patterns of possible marriagesfor women of each marriageunit. sister exchange and cicisbeism. . 274). M. Thus. This formal model of Katab is followed by similarly formal models of Kagoro (an analysis which involves a form of preferentialmarriagewhich the ethnographer. in its turn.250 on Fri.

and only one (Morrison on 'Resistance to Jihadist penetration') deals with the northern borders of the Plateau. Agi. Some of the oral sources have been published (in a stencilled format) asJos Oral History and LiteratureTexts. He notes the rich economy of these societies. In the end marriagesystems are.106. this collection is not primarily concerned with the history of Jos Plateau society. Graceand Wambudta clearly dates their accounts. The chapter on slavery provides a rareaccount of a localized slave-trading system and of the supernaturalbases of social control in slave settlements. 13 Mar 2015 05:15:41 UTC All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . but in spite of this it does indicate some significant political alliances and economic networks among the 'societies' described by Muller. The oral history presented by Morrison. In both of his chapters. 1981. The papers in this collection are all useful in one way or another. 92). Banfa's presentation of Yergam history is notable for its elegant defence of a 'holistic' approach to history. The remainderof the papers are concerned with the history of areas south of the Plateau: Yergam (Banfa). He raises a Levi-Straussianargument that the traditions of origin of different settlements are but 'a contemplation of the contradictions in the basic premises of Yergam culture' (p. The last of the works under review is Studies in the History of Plateau State. Unomah's paper on the lowlands salt industry is mainly based on fairly recently collected (1974-76) oral histories. The paper on conversion describes the association or religious change and changes in the economy (especially the appearanceof new occupationalroles). Two papers discuss recent religious change among Pyem (Bruce) and Ngas (Wambudta) of the eastern Plateau fringes. it seems. Gwandaraof Lafia and the lowlands salt industry (both papers by Unomah). Bruce (an anthropologist) gives detailed accounts of the social processes and cognitive changes which were involved in religious conversion or slavery. Morrison's description of the interrelations of northern Plateau groups and their resistance to emirate rule relies very heavily on single interviews with groups of informants in each community. Cross-cultural evidence for a tradition is a 'significant indicator of its authenticity'. Goemai (Agi). Vols. In fact on three of the papers (Nengel. Banfa makes explicit an approachwhich most of the other contributors simply subscribe to implicitly. these chapters are histories of events rather than processes. Professor Isichei deals with resistance to colonialism and changes and continuities under colonial rule in two chapters which cover Plateau state as a whole.REVIEW ARTICLE 89 of production that he emphasizes in the introduction. yet he couples this with the argument that this allows a special form of determination: not underdetermination but rather determination by contrast with neighbouring societies at the (ill-defined) level of ideology. Ojoade and Grace on Pengana history. 1 and 2. Birom proverbs and early colonial tin-mining respectively) refer to the high Plateau. whilst another paper by Bruce analyses the history and organizationof a Fulani slave settlement close to the Pyem settlement of Gindiri. Perhaps because of the data-base (colonial reports and oral data collected by undergraduateresearchers). What we now need is an account of the salt trade on and around the Plateau. It is particularly interesting as an account of the manufacture and control of an important pre-colonial commodity and as an account of the politics of salt production and intensification of that production in the nineteenth century. the same as myths (p. 257).).6.250 on Fri. and also suggest that marriagesystems might have some economically strategic implications). Adefuye and Unomah (on Gwandaraof Lafia) tends (strangely) to complement the archive sources. 170) is surely incorrect). Banfa argues that ethnographical accounts and oral histories should be treated as equal but variant readings of historical events. Alago (Adefuye). and then dismisses such an analysis as 'gratuitous and intellectually arrogant' (ibid. the statement that pre-colonial caravan routes passed through Kaduna (p. Elsewhere in the book the distinction between pre-colonial and colonial history is not always too clear but the subject matter of the chapters by Isichei. As the title indicates. Might this not be evidence that these 'oral histories' are only 'official' accounts of history? Considerably more information is necessary before we can construct local histories or analyse historical changes in pre-colonial regional politico-economic systems. Nengel. Professor Isichei has This content downloaded from 152. The papers in this volume which deal with colonial history are inevitably more coherent than those that explore pre-colonial themes. The editor herself provides three lengthy overviews of Plateau State history which connect the specific papers of this collection to the extensive archival material and unpublished oral history texts which have been collected by the Jos history department. Bruce. (Incidentally.

isolated or impoverished. exchange and ritual. such locally dominant ideologies have. 'traditional'(and hence closely related to pre-existing economic organization)and were. But one doubts whether they were ever quite so encapsulated as Freund suggests. They define locally specific production organizationratherthan some generalizedgandulgida formation such as that invoked by Freund. but from these books at least three issues emerge. On the evidence presented here. There is here an unexplored historical consciousness which may well be specific to Plateau society. on the one hand. historical account of the dominant ideologies of Plateau communities. All of the works reviewed here impose those events which have been emphasized by European historiography:colonial conquest. there is evidence of a different view of history: Isichei notes the indigenous 'great man' theory of history in accounts of incipient state formation of Kerang in Mwahaval. status and interests are commonly unstated). that the Jos Plateau was not primitive. articulatedwith the ideology of the state. Muller's account of Rukuba marriageconstructs a 'traditional past' which certainly seems to reflect the desires and expectations of someof 'the Rukuba' in the present. As opposed to this structuralism. Eggon. one could argue that the economic decline of the tin-fields and the This content downloaded from 152. generated locally and historically specific forms of opposition.6.106. The ideologies also serve to define that category of the dispossessed who were.90 REVIEW ARTICLE written an account of recent colonial history which points up certain common themes in those texts. Firstly. Yet we can assume that the authorities of each community gave accounts of society which were. and may well become significant to industrializationin the future. the oral texts which are cited by Isichei and others give us some insight into pre-colonial or early colonial modes of constructing history or of framing 'events'. quite rightly. Banfa. But these problems need not be pursued: they reflect attempts to write respectably comprehensive work from very little information. forms which inform 'grass roots' political movements and an emerging national consciousness. household organization. Freund simply ignores periods of tin-mining labour history where dissent may have taken forms other than outright rebellion or trade union activity. and gives evidence of the Mada. Muller has clarified the systematic transformationof social structure on and around the High Plateau. Yet even within these books. an account which traces the interrelations of this indigenous discourse about structures to specific economic and hence historical developments.250 on Fri. and have. the 'labouringclasses' of the Plateau. insist. the merit of the historicist method adopted by Isichei. elders and household heads rather than of subordinate men and women. except Neiers. kinship. and are. There are confrontations over method (for example the absence of oral history in Freund. is that the reporters of past society are identified (although their social position. A final problem is raised most directly by Freund: the tin mines certainly were central to Plateau economy before the Nigerian 'oil boom'. These chapters go some way toward illuminating that popular consciousness which eludes both Freund and Neiers. and also toward establishing those experiences and events which are common to Plateau State history and other regional traditions in Nigerian historiography. All of the authors. Morrison and others. the development of capitalist tin-mining. these dominant ideologies do deal in marriage rules. the incorporation of localized polities into the state. Most emphasize the brutality of colonial conquest and colonial economy and all have a somewhat uneasy relationship to the documentation of history provided by colonialism. Furthermore. secondly. All of the methodological and theoretical perspectives are complementary. The accounts of structures are historically situated ideologies. What we now need is an account of the economic history of that region. Indeed. a legitimation of authority. firstly. simply because colonial investigators sought 'authoritative' accounts of Plateau society. Secondly. or even mutually necessary. Tal and Montol refusal to accept colonialism as a new period of history. until we know more about this region. The materials to construct such a social history are pre-figured in the books reviewed here: Muller's structures are recognizably the ideological property of chiefs. which was only curtailed by the death of Jepnuan. 13 Mar 2015 05:15:41 UTC All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . If the two approaches were to be combined we would acquire a secure. on the other hand. The specific features of Plateau history and sociology remain to be discovered. the explicitly anti-structuralistposition taken by Banfa and the purely formal structuralismof Muller). the group interview techniques of Morrison. There are relatively few specific issues which are common to all of the books under review.

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