"People Are Trying to Be Modern": Food Insecurity and the Strategies of the Poor

Citation:

Leahy, Terry, and Debbie Jean Brown. 2016. “‘People Are Trying to Be Modern’: Food Insecurity and the Strategies of the Poor.” Forum for Development Studies 43 (3): 489-510.

Authors: Terry Leahy, Debbie Jean Brown

Abstract:

The failure of rural Africans to heed the message of development projects and improving agricultural practices is widely recognized as a problem in terms of food security and rural development. This study focuses on the situation in one locality of eastern Zambia and adopts a qualitative approach. By looking at local cultural issues a different understanding of the mechanisms of this failure may be attempted. We suggest that food provisioning is constructed in reference to an ideal of modernity in which subsistence production takes a particular (and gendered) relationship to the cash economy. The implication is that subsistence agriculture is conceived as ‘reproduction’ within capitalism rather than as a separate mode of production articulated with capitalism. This ideal of modernity and the associated utopia of food provisioning make it difficult for rural households in Zambia to see sustainable subsistence agriculture as any kind of a way forward. 

Keywords: Zambia, food security, subsistence, gender, peasant

Topics: Agriculture, Development, Economies, Food Security, Gender, Households, Political Economies Regions: Africa, Southern Africa Countries: Zambia

Year: 2016

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