BORIS Theses

BORIS Theses
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Ethnography of Peasant Engagement in Food Systems

Käser, Fabian (2018). Ethnography of Peasant Engagement in Food Systems. (Thesis). Universität Bern, Bern

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The PhD thesis analysis the sustainability of food systems on the basis of the authors in-depth ethnographic study on Kenyan peasants in the drylands of Laikipia, Northern Kenya. The thesis shows how shortcomings of current food systems are linked to historical transformations of land and property rights as well as global trends in agrarian markets and consumption. In this glocal context, peasants find themselves in a relative low bargaining position. Today, they are forced to accept unfavourable institutional and market specific constraints dominated by global agro-industrial food systems that do not only appropriate access to natural resources and exploit the local labour force but also promote the use of chemical inputs and hybrid seeds for local production. Local peasants can mitigate or prevent some of the shortcomings of the intertwined food systems by organizing in cooperatives. However, not all members have the same opportunities to engage in and benefit from this collective action and economic diversification. The PhD thesis reveals that processes of land and commons grabbing as well as dependence from global agro-industrial systems do affect peasants differently. Peasants who are able to secure their land rights, access to common water as well as reducing their dependence by being able to organize collectively are less vulnerable and more resilient facing global transformations and unsustainable impacts of agro-industrial food systems than those being more dependent. The author argues that when dealing with glocal land and agricultural issues there is a need to pay attention to the heterogeneity of local actors and their ability to cope with glocal market systems.

Item Type: Thesis
Dissertation Type: Single
Date of Defense: 19 October 2018
Subjects: 300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology
Institute / Center: 06 Faculty of Humanities > Department of Art and Cultural Studies > Institute of Social Anthropology
Depositing User: Hammer Igor
Date Deposited: 02 Jun 2020 10:46
Last Modified: 02 Jun 2020 10:46

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