Testing social-driven forces on the evolution of Sahelian rural systems : A combined agent-based modelling and anthropological approach.

Abstract : This article presents the results of a methodology combining an extensive fieldwork, a formalization of field-based individual rules and norms into an agent-based model and the implementation of scenarios analyzing the effects of social and agro-ecological constraints on rural farmers through the study of three different sites in Nigerien Sahel. Two family transition processes are here tested, following field observations and literature-based hypotheses: family organizations can evolve between a patriarchal mode and a non-cooperative one because of family income redistribution tensions. Family inheritance systems can shift between a "customary" mode and a " local Muslim " one through family land availability tensions. Our results show that both agro-ecological and socioeconomic characteristics determine the simulated family type distribution and consequently the allocation of resources. Results from simulations with no evolution processes show that villages specialize themselves on different economic activities according to natural resources: An intensification gradient is observed from the most favored site, with more local productions and improved ecological indicators, to the less-favored one, with a growing proportion of the population wealth coming from migration remittances and " offshore " livestock. Once introducing such processes, the differentiation also occurs within the population level, subdividing it into specializing groups according to their size, their assets and their social status. Emerging individualistic family types increase the village populations' robustness through different and site-specific evolutions.
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Mehdi Saqalli, B. Gérard, C. Bielders, P. Defourny. Testing social-driven forces on the evolution of Sahelian rural systems : A combined agent-based modelling and anthropological approach.. 6ème Conférence ESSA European Social Simulation Association, Sep 2009, Guilford, United Kingdom. ⟨hal-01683914⟩

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