Traders Without Trade

Responses to Change in Two Dyula Communities

Traders Without Trade

The word dyula means 'trader' in the Manding language. It is also the name of certain Manding-speaking ethnic minorities in parts of northern Ivory Coast, who, for centuries before the advent of colonial rule, enjoyed a virtual trading monopoly over the local region. In the first part of this book Robert Launay describes two Dyula communities prior to the twentieth-century colonial period: he discusses the regional symbiosis between Dyula traders and Senufo farmers; the organization of Dyula activity; and the division of the communities into relatively small clan wards with high rates of in-marriage. The second part examines the ways in which both communities have adapted to the recent loss of their trading monopoly, and the strategies they have employed, such as emigration, the assimilation of Western education and the adoption of new occupations, to carve out a new economic niche for themselves. As an account of the incorporation of 'traditional' community into a modern town, the book will be of interest to anthropologists and others concerned with development and modernisation in Africa and the Third World.

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