The panel presents ethnographic contributions that discuss the role of food and food systems in Africa. In particular, it highlights the links between food systems, local development, social and environmental sustainability, and national and international mobility.
The intensification of migration that reached the Western countries, in particular, Europe, in the past decade rekindles the public debate about social and economic conditions that characterize those countries, in particular in Africa, from which migrants depart. In those areas, different events and dynamics intertwine in a landscape shaped by wars, social tensions, unsuccessful attempts to reach an idealized model of (Westernized) modernity, fast and unsustainable urbanization, and a difficult implementation of market-oriented reforms of the production sector, in particular agriculture. Thus, while contemporary migrations highlight the tangible and intangible critical relationships between local and global centers and peripheries, the present situation opens a new debate about local foods and food systems aimed at re-establishing a level of sustainability that appears to be lost.
The panel presents ethnographic researches about food and foodways in contemporary Africa. It aims to present theoretical and methodological contributions to address local foodscape, in particular, those elements of its tradition and/or innovation that can be pivotal to achieve local development and social and environmental sustainability. In so doing, it questions the very concept of sustainability and the roles that local communities, enterprises, government agencies, and NGOs can have in achieving that new forms of resilience; a fundamental goal in the wake of this new season that is rewriting the meaning of globalization to which we got accustomed.
Its idea was developed as a part of the activities of the research project "SASS" of the University of Gastronomic Sciences.