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Onions Are My Husband

Survival and Accumulation by West African Market Women

Onions Are My Husband

Survival and Accumulation by West African Market Women

In the most comprehensive analysis to date of the world of open air marketplaces of West Africa, Gracia Clark studies the market women of Kumasi, Ghana, in order to understand the key social forces that generate, maintain, and continually reshape the shifting market dynamics.

Probably the largest of its kind in West Africa, the Kumasi Central Market houses women whose positions vary from hawkers of meals and cheap manufactured goods to powerful wholesalers, who control the flow of important staples. Drawing on more than four years of field research, during which she worked alongside several influential market "Queens", Clark explains the economic, political, gender, and ethnic complexities involved in the operation of the marketplace and examines the resourcefulness of the market women in surviving the various hazards they routinely encounter, from coups d’etat to persistent sabotage of their positions from within.

488 pages | 16 halftones, 9 maps, 2 line drawings, 32 tables | 6 x 9 | © 1994

African Studies

Anthropology: Cultural and Social Anthropology

Women's Studies

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
List of Tables
1. Stepping into the Market
2. The Regional Web
3. Persistent Transformation
4. Buying and Selling
5. Control of Resources
6. "We Know Ourselves"
7. Queens of Negotiation
8. Multiple Identities
9. Home and Husband
10. The Market under Attack
11. Surviving the Peace
Appendix: Survey Methodology


African Studies Association: Melville J. Herskovits Award

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