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“Distance Saves Me”

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Chapter Summary

This chapter addresses civil servants' experience of a tension between their "modern" way of life and "traditional" village mores in four parts. The first part illustrates the ambivalent nature of their relationship with relatives in the home village by means of two case studies of two civil servants who had to make a decision about where to settle after retirement. The second part deals with the influence of formal education on the process of social stratification between the educated elite and the poor. The third part places the reliance on voluntary social networks in the context of the ambivalent relationship with the rural kin and the fourth part discusses the moral dilemma that arose from the desire to maintain social and spatial distance to the relatives in the home district.

Keywords: Africa; civil service; social stratification



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