Food cultures in Africa: food production, consumption, and prestige ranking in the age of development 
Jon Abbink (ASCL, Leiden University)
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Start time:
30 June, 2017 at 14:00 (UTC+0)
Session slots:

Short Abstract:

We address cultures of food production and consumption in Africa in contexts of development & change. Food is a prime locus to identify processes of reproduction & adaptation - to scarcity & famine, but also to challenges of power, prestige-ranking & 'modernity' in its various developmentalist forms.

Long Abstract

This panel invites studies of cultures of food production and consumption in Africa in contexts of development and change, both in rural and urban settings and in the transitions between the two. Food and eating, as basic necessities and socio-culturally styled material issues in human society, are a prime locus to identify process of (social) reproduction and adaptation, not only to scarcity and occasional famine, but also to challenges of power, prestige-ranking, community, and 'modernity'. Globally, issues of food production, consumption, distribution and (in)security are crucial in the developmentalist equation, and more contextual knowledge on food cultures is useful for policy choices, taking into account that food and eating are both economic as well as cultural-symbolic phenomena, with a 'historical' dimension (memory, identity).

The papers in this panel will address a variety of issue around food and eating cultures, but from a socio-cultural point of view, paying attention to meanings, values and prestige attached to food (items) and diets, as well as to responses of populations making different choices in their diet and their production of food, either voluntary or forced, and in their 'marketing' it (e.g., in tourism) - the latter often challenged by processes of development and urbanization. The rich tradition of social (esp. anthropological) studies on food, diets, nutrition and eating provides the theoretical and empirical context for the papers, most of which will be based on ethnographic research, thus augmenting macro-pictures by geographers, development studies scholars or economists.

Accepted papers: