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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:The social life of maize: neo-liberalism, food security, and non-market exchanges in southern Zambia
Author:Sitko, Nicholas
Periodical:African Geographical Review
Geographic term:Zambia
food security
Abstract:This paper explores how a shift to neoliberal agricultural policies has affected the non-market distribution of maize in rural southern Zambia. Maize serves as the staple food and primary source of income for the semi-subsistence agrarian population of this region. A shift to neoliberalism introduced a dynamic market price to maize and led to the proliferation of non-market exchanges of maize, including bartering for goods and labour exchanges. Drawing on ethnographic research and the theoretical insights of the social life of commodities, this paper demonstrates how embedded systems of non-market maize exchange are differentially mediated by market pricing. The paper argues that developing systems of non-market maize exchanges through culturally defined practices can insulate maize exchanges from the effects of the market and can improve a person's food security. Recognizing the interrelationship between policy change and culturally mediated practices of maize exchange demands a new approach to food security policies in the region. Bibliogr., notes, sum. [Journal abstract]