Ivory Coast Table of Contents
Through the 1980s, Côte d'Ivoire shared the concerns over poverty, unemployment, and crime that plagued developing and industrial countries alike. Human resource management was complicated by the large urban-rural ratio, however, and by population growth and economic recession. The cultural expectation of assistance through the extended family helped offset problems of unemployment, but high mobility within the work force resulted in more dispersed families, and this dispersal, in turn, contributed to rising problems of poverty and unemployment.
Poverty, population mobility, and ethnic and cultural diversity contributed to rising crime rates during the first two decades of independence. During the 1980s, statistics on white-collar crime--embezzlement, fraud, and misappropriation of funds--rose at a faster rate, and urban crimes such as robbery and theft generated widespread concern. In 1987 the president declared dishonesty and fraud a public disgrace and proclaimed his intention to wage a vigorous war against them. Drug abuse--primarily involving cocaine, marijuana, and heroin--was also declared a scourge against society, but the appropriate public response to these problems was not defined.
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Ethnographic background reading on Akan, Mandé, and Voltaic societies is available in a variety of works by Meyer Fortes, Elliott Skinner, Kenneth Little, Helga Diallo, and Germaine Dieterlen. Alexander Alland, Jr.'s When the Spider Danced presents a personal account of ethnographic research among the Abron during the 1960s.
Michael A. Cohen's, Urban Policy and Political Conflict in Africa focuses on urbanization and formation of the elite in the 1960s and early 1970s. Bastiaan A. den Tuinder, in Ivory Coast: The Challenge of Success, assesses data on sectoral progress during the 1970s. Jeanne Maddox Toungara's "The Changing Status of Women in Côte d'Ivoire" summarizes the history of changes in legislation regarding women in Ivoirian society.
Much of the more recent literature on Côte d'Ivoire describes the role of the president in crafting this complex nation-state and controlling the direction of social and political change. The years leading up to independence and the context of the evolution of the president's status as "Le Vieux" are analyzed in Aristide Zolberg's One-Party Government in the Ivory Coast. Claude E. Welch, Jr., in "Côte d'Ivoire: Personal Rule and Civilian Control," assesses the president's role in maintaining the region's only long-standing civilian government.
Robert J. Mundt's Historical Dictionary of the Ivory Coast compiles a wide range of historical, political, and sociological data, presented in concise entries with an extensive bibliography. Philippe David's La Côte d'Ivoire, presents an overview of Ivoirian society, including historical, economic, and sociological background reading. (For further information and complete citations, see Bibliography.)
Data as of November 1988