Reconceptualising urban food security : an analysis of the everyday negotiations of food access in Lusaka, Zambia

Davies, Frances (2015-12)

Thesis (MPhil)--Stellenbosch University, 2015.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: This study calls to attention the everyday experiences of what is an increasing urban food insecurity crisis in southern Africa. It draws on a wide literature review and in-depth qualitative work conducted in Lusaka, Zambia. A critical assessment of the dominant food security agenda in southern Africa is discussed in reference to the grounded understanding of a food insecure family living in an impoverished neighbourhood in Lusaka. Illustrations of the deeper empirical context of urban-scaled food insecurity are examined from a feminist food systems perspective. This enables the identification of the gendered embodied experiences of crafting food security in the inequitable urban environment. Individual agency shapes alternative food security strategies that contain purpose, meaning and identity, beyond simplistic notions of food access and consumption. The study speaks to the lived reality of negotiating food security, which is currently unrecognised, and in some cases occluded from dominant patriarchal and neoliberal-centred food security perspectives. In contribution to theory, it is argued that the embodied everyday life realities of the inequitable urban and global food system need to be taken seriously and established as the departure point for setting food security agendas. This study is presented in the form of two journal articles. Article one, titled Money for eating: Everyday urban food insecurity in Lusaka, highlights the importance of agency as a food security determinant in the micro-relational spaces within and between households and food networks. In this sense, agency is both created, and implicated in, the crafting of daily food security. The study exposes how the grand narratives of the global food security discourse are disconnected from, and often contradict, the negotiations and dynamics of food security on the ground. Article two, titled Urban food security: rethinking Lusaka’s food system, builds on the findings expressed in the first article. It discusses how everyday urban food security strategies are contextual and relational – time- and place-bound. It explores how urban residents’ actively negotiate layers of power and inequality embedded within urban food and structural systems. This article argues that urban-scaled food security responses and their underpinning food system governance processes need to find ways to support the critical agentic interactions that are deeply enmeshed within the daily lives of urban food-system actors. In both articles, literature from outside of the narrow food security discourse is used because it better supports the conceptualisation of the everyday reality of urban food insecurity experiences and the inclusive urban food system governance processes needed to deal with the cumulating urban crisis. This broader literature review and a finely grained ethnographic reading of everyday food insecurity offers an alternative paradigm for urban food security work in Zambia and the wider region.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Hierdie studie werp lig op alledaagse ondervindige van die toenemende voedselonsekerheidskrisis in Suidelike Afrika. Dit put uit ’n wye literatuur-oorsig en deeglike kwantitatiewe werk wat in Lusaka, Zambië, gedoen, is.’n Kritiese evaluering van die dominante voedselsekuriteitagenda in Suidelike Afrika word bespreek met verwysing na die gegronde begrip van ’n voedselonsekere familie in ’n verarmde buurt in Lusaka. Illustrasies van die diepere empiriese konteks van voedselonsekerheid op ’n stedelike skaal word vanuit ’n feministiese voedselstelselperspektief ondersoek. Dit stel die identifisering van die verpersoonlikde geslagsondervindings van die praksering van voedselsekuriteit in die ongelyke stedelike omgewing in staat. Onafhanklike agentskap vorm alternatiewe voedselsekuriteitstrategieë wat doel, betekenis, en identiteit het; bo en behalwe simplistiese idees van toegang tot en verbruik van voedsel. Die studie spreek die werklikheid daarvan aan om voedselsekuriteit te onderhandel, wat tans onerkend is, en in sommige gevalle van dominante patriargaal- en neo-liberaalgesentreerde voedselsekuriteitperspektiewe uitgesluitword. In bydrae tot die teorie, word daar geredeneer dat die verpersoonlikde alledaagse werklikhede van die lewe van die ongelyke stedelike en globale voedselstelsel ernstig opgeneem moet word en as die vertrekpunt vir die opstel van voedselsekuriteitagendas gevestig moet word. Hierdie studie word in die vorm van twee joernaalartikels aangebied. Artikel een, genaamd “Money for eating: Everyday urban food insecurity in Lusaka”, beklemtoon die belang van agentskap as ’n beslissende faktor vir voedselsekuriteit in die mikroverwante ruimtes binne en tussen huishoudings en voedselnetwerke. In hierdie sin word agentskap beide geskep en betrek by die praksering van daaglikse voedselsekuriteit. Die studie onthul hoe die hoofnarratiewe van die globale voedselsekuriteitverhandeling los is van, en dikwels teenstellend is tot, die onderhandelinge en dinamika van die basis van voedselonsekerheid op voetsoolvlak. Artikel twee, genaamd “Urban food security: Rethinking Lusaka’s food system” bou op die bevindinge wat in die eerste artikel uitgedruk is. Dit bespreek hoe alledaagse voedselsekuriteitstrategieë konteksgebonde en verwant is – tyd- en plekgebonde. Dit ondersoek hoe stedelike bewoners aktief die mag en ongelykheid in stedelike voedsel- en strukturele stelsels onderhandel. Hierdie artikel redeneer dat voedselsekuriteitreaksies op stedelike skaal en hul onderliggende voedselstelselbeheerprosesse maniere moet vind om die kritiese agentiese interaksies wat diep binne die daaglikse lewens van stedelike voedselstelselspelers lê, te ondersteun. In beide artikels word literatuur van buite die noue voedselsekuriteitverhandeling gebruik, aangesien dit beter ondersteuning bied vir die konseptualisering van die alledaagse realiteit van stedelike voedselsekuriteitondervindinge en die inklusiewe stedelike voedselstelselbeheerprosesse wat nodig is om die toenemende stedelike krisis op te los. Hierdie wyer literatuur-oorsig en ‘n fynere etnografiese oorsig van alledaagse voedselonsekerheid bied ’n alternatiewe paradigma van stedelike voedselsekuriteitwerk in Zambië en die omliggende gebiede.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/98011
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