Social organization and Production

In the process of material production man entered into relations with other members in the society.  Individuals in the society had organized themselves in various social groups for the production purpose.  Social organization was determined by relations in production through which people produced and shared the products of their labour, instruments of labor and objects of labour.

Social organization refers to a unique and unified system of relationship between people and groups concerning division of activities in a society. Or

Social organization

refers to the way individuals within a group relate in order to exist harmoniously. It is the recognition of the role played by each member of the society.


Is a major in the series of economic processes that brings goods and services to people. It includes creation, distribution and consumption

Modes of production

Is the relationship between production and productive forces.

Human labor

Is the consciousness and purposeful activity of people to produce material wealth. Involves personal factors such as skills, experiences, knowledge brain and energy.

Means of labour

Are the things used in production such as hoes, machines, roads, buildings etc.

Objective of labour

Are things upon which man’s labour is applied (mostly land).

Productive forces

All things (forces) enable man to produce and satisfy his basic need or wants.  It include human labour, object of labour and means of labour.

Relation of production

Is the relation between one group and the other in the process of production.  It includes Ownership, distribution of production and classes.

Class struggle

Are conflicts that developed between exploitative mode and non –exploitative modes example capitalism and socialism.



Primitive communalism is the first and earliest mode of production in man’s history/development in which passed by almost all societies and there was equality among all members of the society and it was un-exploitative mode of production.

It came into existence about two (2) million years ago when human society was at low level of development. It is called Primitive because of the low level of productive forces and Communalism because there was no exploitation of man by man.

This mode of production existed much longer period than any other mode of production. It covered the period of stone ages up to the iron ages. In the beginning people were powerless before their environment; they collected whatever nature gave them for food such as fruits, roots and insects.

Examples of such societies that are still in communal mode of production include: Bushmen or San people of southern Africa, Tindiga and Hadzabe of Tanzania; Dorobo of Kenya and the Teso of Uganda.


Major means of production owned collectively/Communal ownership of the major means of production

The member of the community jointly owned the major means of production including land, dwellings, tools and animals.

Low level of production

Due to little knowledge, skills and experience in production, tools used in production were crude and the only tool available were made of stones that helped man to get basic needs such as food, clothing and shelter.

Production was only for subsistence

Due to low level of science and technology, people produced enough food to satisfy their basic requirements, only small farms around homes were used

Absence of specialization

All people assisted in various duties such as food, working on the land, making clothes, constructing shelters and toolmaking. There were no crafts men and women.

Absence of classes

Classes refer to the division of people according to their status. In communal mode of production there were no classes as people were living together, sharing productions equally.

It was non-exploitative

Because there was no private ownership of the major means of production, hence in a long run caused equal distribution of products and also every able-bodied person worked as matter of routine.

Simple social organization

Because of low population involved political organization in this mode was very simple. It was mostly based on blood ties/kinship relations such as clan system organization. They lived in small groups tracing their origin from the same ancestors.

Decision making made by all people

All decision had to be made by all the adult members of the group regardless of their sex. They had no coercive power and exercised their power purely through respect and need.

Long existence

It existed much longer than any other mode of production, it ranged from the emergence of man, more than 1 million years ago and in some societies went on until the beginning of the 20th

There was respect of humanity and human rights

As there were no classes due to presence of equality. There was no so called humiliation and inhumanity; all human rights were followed/observed.

No surplus production

People were only able to produce according to the needs of the people due to the low level of science and technology, thus the use of poor production tools and less care in crops against diseases.

Equal division of productions

the products produced in the society were distributed equally to all members of the society; no one gained a line’s share under this mode of production.


This is the second mode of production in human history/development but the first exploitative mode in which slaves were the major means of production. People who owned nothing i.e. the “haves not” became slaves and those who had surplus production i.e. the “haves” became slave masters

Slavery is a situation whereby a person is owned by another person as the instrument of production and has no any right.

Slaves were not paid, they were given things like food which could help them to live and they were prohibited to marry. Some of the societies in Africa that passed through this mode of production include the Coast of East Africa and Egypt.


It was exploitative mode of Production

slaves were the victims in this mode as they were badly exploited by the slave masters. Slaves had no any right, they had to work without payment and they were treated like commodities, they were chained, paraded and branded.

It involved the existence of classes

Two classes of people existed: slaves and that of the slave masters. The slave masters were above the slaves as far as the economy was concerned.

There was slight improved level of science and technology

man was in progress in terms of productive forces if compared to primitive communalism.

There was surplus production

slaves used in production

No equality

because classes and exploitation existed among the people.

Presence of the private ownership of the major means of production

the major means of production owned by the slave masters including the slaves.


  • Slaves were used to take care of the elders of the slave masters.
  • Slaves performed domestic activities such as fetching water, cooking and cleaning.
  • Slaves provided labour in farms and took care of the animals.
  • Slaves were used as watchmen and gate keepers.
  • Slaves provide labour in public works such as construction building roads, mining
  • Slaves were used to carry loads for traders and rulers as they moved from place to place.
  • Slaves served in the military to strengthening the army


Feudalism was the second mode of production which was based on the exploitation of man by man.

In this mode of production there were two antagonistic classes which were the Land lords who owned the major means of production (land) and the serfs who were exploited (landless).

People with no land and other means of production had to lend land from landlords and in turn they were supposed to pay rent. Three types of rents (payments) existed during feudalism:

  • Labour rent – in this type a peasant was supposed to work (offer labour) to the landlord for few days as payment for using his land.
  • Rent in kind – here a tenant had to offer some of his harvest to the landlord as a payment for using his land.
  • Rent in cash – in this case a peasant had to pay cash (money) to the landlord. This system came very late after the discovery of money as a medium of trade.

There were different forms of feudal modes that existed in Africa:

Karagwe Nyarubanja Omukama
Buganda Mvunjo / Busulo Kabaka
Buha, Rwanda, Burundi Ubugabire Mwami
Unyamwezi, Usukuma, Ugogo Ntemiship Mtemi
Uhehe                                    Mutwa Mutwa
Coastal areas of E. Africa Umwinyi Mwinyi
Nyakyusa Kufufya Malafyale


Private ownership of the major means of production

Land which was the major means of production and as a source and symbol of power and economy and other properties owned individually by the Feudal lords. Only the feudal lords had access to the sources of wealth.

Exploitation of man by man

there was exploitation of man by man whereby tenants were exploited by the landlords in terms of rents which were divided into three groups i.e. Labour rent, Money rent and Rent in kind which the tenants were required to pay to the feudal lords (land lords).

Presence of classes

the society was divided into two classes: landlords or feudal lords and tenants or peasants (there were antagonistic classes which were Landlords/haves and serfs/tenants/haves not).

Emergence of exchange of commodities (trade)

the production of surplus was sufficient to support the exchange of commodities between people.

Characterized by inheritance of power

the succession system was used i.e. if the King died, his son was supposed to take the position/throne.

Strong and elaborated system of political organization

people who engage in feudal mode of production had strong political organization e.g. Nyamwezi, Zulu, Bunyoro, Buganda, these state were either centralized or decentralized states.

High level of productive forces

there was development in skills and experience, tools or instrument of production such as the use of iron tools.

Higher level of Science and technology

under this mode, significant scientific and technological renovation had taken place, for example; iron technology, medicine and irrigation.

Depended much on land

land was the major means of production where by land was very crucial and agriculture was the main economic activities.


  • The weaker people in the society were protected by the king or the rich land lords e.g. among the Rwandese, the Tutsi had an obligation to protect their tenants, the Hutu.
  • The land owners gave all people in the society a piece of land to cultivate.
  • There was peace in the society as the rich classes maintained law and orders
  • The rich supported the poor with food during drought and famine
  • The society were highly stratified, with each class of people knowing their position and role. In this way, the feudal societies were very organized


  1. The rich exploited labour force of the poor.
  2. Only a few people in society owned land.
  3. There was inequality in society between the rich and the poor.
  4. The peasant were forced to undertake military duties and endanger their lives for their landlords.
  5. It encouraged inter-community warfare as landlords fought in order to increase their land and vassals.
  6. It was discriminative in nature since the king often shared his power with members of his family or clan.


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