Women and the management of household food security in Paternoster

Swartz, Eleanor (2013-12)

Thesis (MA)--Stellenbosch University, 2013.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: This study focuses on the gendered social relations that are attached to food, through an exploration of women’s management of food and food security in poor households in Paternoster, a small fishing community on the west coast of the Western Cape Province of South Africa. My study explores how women navigate the everyday provision, management and distribution of food within a context of limited resources, with food understood both in terms of sustenance and as implicated in processes whereby gender norms and larger concerns with ‘respectability’ (ordentlikheid) are established and maintained under difficult economic conditions. One of the important strategies employed to ensure food security within households in Paternoster is the establishment and maintenance by and among women of foodways in and between households. An exploration of foodways between households sheds light on the various social networks that exist in Paternoster and the important role of women within these networks. Paternoster is a space where the navigation of these issues is informed by the long history of subsistence fishing in the area and the symbolism attached to fish and fishing in the ways in which the local fishing community engages with the challenges of food security. Of particular interest is how women manage individual and/or household food security in Paternoster in the light of existing gender dynamics involved in the production, collection and consumption of food. The sharp division of labour historically has meant that women have traditionally been involved in the pre- and post-harvest sector, rather than in the actual catching of fish. This study is also driven by concerns around the impacts of the changing fishing environment on food security and social relations in this small village. One of the major consequences of these changes is the feeling of impending food insecurity experienced by many households. The increase in mechanization in marine resource use activities, drastic changes in fishing policies and the process of fisheries rights allocations as well as diminishing fish stocks are systematically impacting on the social systems and lived experiences of the people who were, and still are, heavily dependent on the fishing industry in Paternoster for their livelihoods.. Paternoster has seen the development of new sources of employment as a result of the growth of tourism, which has presented women in particular with new work opportunities, including working in guest houses and restaurants. However, this is on the low wage end. In this context the management of food security within the household and between households through maintaining foodways and established food networks is predominantly the responsibility of women.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Hierdie studie fokus op sosiale verhoudings van gender wat verband hou met voedsel, deur‘n verkenning van vroue se bestuur van voedsel en voedselsekerheid in arm huishoudings in Paternoster, ‘n klein vissersgemeenskap aan die weskus van die Wes-Kaap Provinsie van Suid-Afrika. My studie verken hoe vroue die daaglikse voorsiening, bestuur en verspreiding van voedsel navigeer in ‘n konteks van beperkte hulpbronne, met ‘n begrip van voedsel as lewensmiddele sowel as geïmpliseer in prosesse waarin gender-norme en ‘n gerigtheid op 'ordentlikheid' onder moeilike ekonomiese omstandighede gevestig en onderhou word. Een van die belangrike strategieë wat deur en tussen vroue in huishoudings in Paternoster onderneem word om voedselsekerheid te verseker is die vestiging en onderhouding van voedselnetwerke (foodways) in en tussen huishoudings. ‘n Verkenning van voedselnetwerke tussen huishoudings werp lig op die verskeidenheid sosiale netwerke wat in Paternoster bestaan en die belangrike rol van vroue in hierdie netwerke. Paternoster is ‘n plek waar die navigasie van hierdie kwessies ingelig word deur die lang geskiedenis van bestaansvissery in die gebied sowel as die simboliek wat aan vis en visvang geheg word in die wyses waarop die plaaslike gemeenskap met die uitdagings van voedselsekerheid handel. Wat van besondere belang is, is hoe vroue individuele en huishoudelike voedselsekerheid in Paternoster bestuur in die lig van die bestaande gender-dinamika met betrekking tot die produksie, versameling en gebruik van voedsel. Die skerp historiese geslagsverdeling van arbeid het beteken dat vroue tradisioneel betrokke was in die voor- en na-oes proses, eerder as in die werklike vang van vis. Hierdie studie word ook gemotiveer deur kommer oor die impak wat die veranderende vissery-omgewing op voedselsekerheid en sosiale verhoudings in hierdie dorpie het. Een van die belangrikste gevolge van hierdie veranderinge is die gevoel van dreigende voedselonsekerheid wat deur talle huishoudings ondervind word. Die toename in meganisering in die aktiwiteite rondom die gebruik van mariene hulpbronne, die drastiese veranderinge in visserybeleid en die toekenningsproses van visregte asook die afname in visbronne impakteer sistemies op die sosiale sisteme en ervaring van die mense wat sterk afhanklik was van die visindustrie in Paternoster vir hul leeftog afhanklik was en nog steeds is. Paternoster het die ontwikkeling van nuwe bronne van werk ervaar as gevolg van die groei van toerisme. Dit het aan vroue veral nuwe werksgeleenthede gebied, insluitend werk in gastehuise en restourante. Hierdie werk was egter op die lae loonvlak. In hierdie konteks is die bestuur van voedselsekerheid binne die huishouding en tussen huishoudings, deur die handhawing van foodways en gevestigde voedselnetwerke hoofsaaklik die verantwoordelikheid van vroue.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/85864
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