Food practices and identity construction: Food restriction and health equilibrium among Agni communities of Bongouanou, Côte d'Ivoire.
Bognan Valentin Koné (African Studies of Basel)
Gilbert Fokou (Centre Suisse de Recherches Scientifiques en Côte d'Ivoire (CSRS))
Brigit Obrist van Eeuwijk (University of Basel)
Paper short abstract:
Even if food practices contribute to the identity construction, food restrictions regarding the prohibition of some vegetal and animal species are regularly observed in several African communities where they play social, socio-ecological and socio-sanitary roles.
Paper long abstract:
Food restriction is one of the important means for social control in many communities in the world. It can have several social, religious and even political dimensions. Cases of allergies due to the consumption of certain foods suggest that the prohibition may also have a health dimension. In Côte d'Ivoire in West Africa, food restrictions regarding the prohibition of some vegetal and animal species are regularly observed in several communities and play social, socio-ecological and socio-sanitary roles. In this contribution, investigates the raisons that support numerous foods restriction derived from animal protein in certain communities in a context of food crisis and metabolic diseases. Thus, among the Agni community of Bongouanou of Côte d'Ivoire, there are social norms depriving populations of certain food that abounds in immediate environment. A survey was conducted using qualitative and quantitative approaches in four villages selected based on foods restriction prescribed therein. The contribution analyzes social constructions on food restrictions in relation to health as well as population attitudes and practices with regard to banned food. Relying on potential link between food and health resilience, local norms based on food restrictions contribute to manage health equilibrium of communities. Thus, building on food resilience strategies of these communities, emphasis is placed on the relational and institutional frame in which the most relevant health and food aspects are translated. The persistence of food banned due to their close association with morbidity and health is a key element in preserving indigenous identity and maintaining ecological context.
Food cultures in Africa: food production, consumption, and prestige ranking in the age of development