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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Local Strategies for Coping with Hunger: Central Sierra Leone and Northern Nigeria Compared
Author:Richards, PaulISNI
Periodical:African Affairs: The Journal of the Royal African Society
Geographic terms:Sierra Leone
Northern Nigeria
Agriculture, Natural Resources and the Environment
Peoples of Africa (Ethnic Groups)
Health and Nutrition
External link:https://www.jstor.org/stable/722245
Abstract:This article approaches the ecology and politics of hunger-coping mechanisms at village level in contemporary tropical Africa by means of a comparison of material from two published case studies. The first reports fieldwork undertaken by Michael Watts in a village, Kaita, near Katsina in northern Nigeria in 1977-1978. The second draws on the author's own fieldwork in Mogbuama, a Mende village in central Sierra Leone, in 1982-1983. Both studies stress that coping strategies are serially adaptive and not static 'game plans' as suggested in some previous literature. The authors differ, however, as to how much scope there is for manoeuvre at the local level. Watts argues that some local-level hunger-coping mechanisms are at the end of their tether, and in other cases even appear regressive when the macroeconomic and political context of northern Nigeria is taken into account. The present author argues that this is not necessarily so clearly the case in rural Sierra Leone. The present comparison tries to decide how much this disagreement reflects objective differences in the two localities studied, and how much is due to differences in the authors' basic analytical perspectives. Ref.