P063
When food is short: rural and urban household strategies sustaining livelihoods
Convenors:
Stephan Duennwald (Centro de Estudos Africanos, ISCTE IUL, Lisbon)
Ulrich Schiefer (ISCTE-IUL)
Ana Larcher Carvalho (ISCTE)
Chair:
Stephan Dünnwald (1+3) - Ulli Schiefer (2)
Discussant:
Ulli Schiefer (1) Stephan Dünnwald (2) Ana Larcher (3)
Location:
C5.06
Start time:
29 June, 2013 at 9:00
Session slots:
3

Short abstract:

African households frequently have difficulties to cover food expenses. Coping strategies may include the reduction of meals per day or the migration of family members. This stresses family bonds and creates dependencies. Are families disintegrating, or adapting to new forms of social bonds?

Long abstract:

African households, in rural areas, but also in urban and peri-urban dwellings, frequently have difficulties to cover food expenses. The reasons for this are manifold - from degrading soils to climate change, from lack of manpower to lack of jobs, from rising global food prices to conflict. Households react with a broad array of coping strategies, starting from the reduction in the number of meals per day, and including what is frequently called income diversification. What impacts does that have on urban and rural social life, what turbulences rise from this? Different forms of temporary or continuous migration are also prominent ways out. These strategies, to a greater or lesser degree, stress and threaten family bonds, and sometimes tend to increase the dependency of those left behind. On the other hand, examples of returning migrants show their commitment to the village, to agriculture. Is this a trend 'back home'? How does the agrarian side of African societies evolve? Are families loosing social cohesion, disintegrating, or is this just an adaptive process of social transformation? We invite papers which look into these peculiar developments, linking agriculture to urban and transnational livelihoods, the rural to modernity.