Accepted Papers:

Tastes of War: Theorising Food Within Marxist and Poststructuralist Frameworks  


Marketa Slavkova (Czech Academy of Sciences)

Paper Short Abstract:

This presentation discusses the topic of food in armed conflicts within theoretical frameworks of Marxism and poststructuralism. Main focus is placed on changes in food accessibility and strategies of food self-provisioning during the Bosnian war between 1992-95.

Paper long abstract:

In his 'Grundrisse,' Marx famously stated that: 'Hunger is hunger, but the hunger gratified by cooked meat eaten with a knife and fork is a different hunger from that which bolts down raw meat with the aid of hand, nail and tooth' (Marx 1993: 92). By saying this, Marx was attempting to emphasise that 'production creates the consumer' (ibid.). In other words, people are generally satisfied with less in basic material conditions but with increased production it is harder to accommodate their needs and greater elaboration is required. This presentation discusses the role of food and food self-provisioning in the time of dramatic social changes, which arise in the armed conflict. I further contextualise this issue within the political and socio-economic transition from socialism to the capitalist model of neoliberal market-driven economy.

In order to illustrate these complex phenomena, I am using the example of the Bosnian war between 1992-95, which broke out as part of the disintegration process of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. The goal of this presentation is to elaborate on the changing everyday eating practices during the last war in Bosnia and Herzegovina and show how the armed conflict impacted dietary preferences of the affected individuals. Majority of the research data are a product of my long-term ethnographic fieldwork in Srebrenica and Sarajevo, BiH between 2013-18. I interpret my research findings namely within Marxist and poststructuralist frameworks with an emphasis on the concept of power.

Panel P136
Systemic crisis, anti-systemic movements: marxist approaches to capitalist restructuring and social reproduction in contemporary global scenarios of movement and stability