tDAR Logo tDAR digital antiquity

Predatory Commerce, Elite Competition: Economic Conflict and the Downfall of Elite Communitas in the port of Mtwapa, Kenya, 1600-1750 CE.

Author(s): Rahul Oka

Year: 2015

» Downloads & Basic Metadata

Summary

The premise of this session is that "communities are not merely the byproducts of individual households pursuing their own productive strategies nor are households passive reflections of the larger communities of which they are a part." This paper focuses on Waungwana (elite) communitas at the Swahili port of Mtwapa, Kenya between 1600-1750 CE. Data from 10 elite wards is used to examine the effects of competition on both household and community. Analysis shows that the external predatory commerce in the Indian Ocean trading world of 17th and 18th centuries is linked to the emergence of new competitive elite households within the waungwana at Mtwapa who: a) invested more in ‘foreign’ merchant networks rather than local and regional alliance networks, and b) shifted from a local-regional value-added manufacturing economy to a regional-global raw material-based extractive economy. While this enabled greater profit for the emergent elite households, it also led to a breakdown in the Waungwana communitas and ultimately, to capital flight, elite out-migration, and abandonment of Mtwapa between 1750-1800 CE. It is argued that household engagement in competitive pursuit of their own productive strategies in response to predatory commerce may be a fundamental factor in the breakdown of communitas and communities.

SAA 2015 abstracts made available in tDAR courtesy of the Society for American Archaeology and Center for Digital Antiquity Collaborative Program to improve digital data in archaeology. If you are the author of this presentation you may upload your paper, poster, presentation, or associated data (up to 3 files/30MB) for free. Please visit http://www.tdar.org/SAA2015 for instructions and more information.


This Resource is Part of the Following Collections


Cite this Record

Predatory Commerce, Elite Competition: Economic Conflict and the Downfall of Elite Communitas in the port of Mtwapa, Kenya, 1600-1750 CE.. Rahul Oka. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 395362)


Keywords


Spatial Coverage

min long: -18.809; min lat: -38.823 ; max long: 53.262; max lat: 38.823 ;

Arizona State University The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation National Science Foundation National Endowment for the Humanities Society for American Archaeology Archaeological Institute of America